Category Archives: Relationships

Sexist much?

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It all started out as a harmless chat about motorcycles. He bragged about his, I bragged about my husband’s. Then he said that’s too easy, he does off-road, ’cause riding on tarmac is for 60-year-olds. I said I’d be glad to pass on this very useful piece of information, but don’t go putting ideas into my husband’s head, I don’t want him to croak and leave me alone with two mouths to feed (that is basically his contribution to our children’s education at this point).

“You women murder men’s freedom, that’s the truth of it”, he postulated. ” You bury us, both metaphorically and literally speaking.”

“Damn right we bury you”, I replied. “What would you rather have us do? Let you rot in a ditch?”

Haha. Seriously, who is killing whose freedom here? I’m a girl but I am as footloose as any man, I love my freedom, my mobility, my time, my privacy, and my independence just as much as any hairy fellow. All I dream about is to see the world, to meet the people, to do the deeds. Perhaps I’d like to ride that bike myself once in a while; heck, maybe I’d like to take it for a ride and never come back. And let you eat my dust. But I have to be a responsible mother. Somebody has to be.

See, if you’re a woman, you don’t really have a choice. I mean, you do, but it’s ten zillion times tougher on you, because there is that thing called biology. Biology never forgives. If you’re a woman, you are almost required to have kids. Because without them, you will not feel fulfilled in your higher calling. Because without them you will feel like an empty, useless shell that shrivels up like a raisin and dies pointless and alone. Or so you think. If you do not think that, don’t worry, the 10,000 other women around you will devote their every living moment to convincing you. There is an arduous competition going on among women and it concerns procreation and kids. And the thing is, even if what you like is your peace and quiet, your time for creative intellectual impulses such as reading, writing, studying, or your career, or your research, or your travels, once you have kids, you will find that you love them more. You won’t be able to help it. You will eventually love them more than any other living being on this planet. You will give up your freedoms and your pleasures for their sake and you might even engage in propagating the silly competition. So you sacrifice.

Men always complain about what clingers we are. Damn right we cling! What else is there to do when we’re practically jobless, financially dependent, and no longer enjoy any mobility or freedom of our own?! When our brain is jello after the chronic sleep-deprivation that comes with raising a couple of rowdy youngsters and trying to do a good job of it, too. Let me tell you, freedom lovers. Raising kids is like applying heat to firecrackers. They keep exploding in your hand. And we get the burns.

So yeah… Tough women take your freedom away, weak women are clingers. You basically want to conquer, but not govern – just pillage a little. Oh, and in the meantime we should wait patiently for your return. In case you ever return.

Let me get this straight: we should be independent and strong enough to face hardship alone (oh, generous master!) yet delicate and feminine, smart and sexy, tender and maternal, relaxed and understanding – and at the same time willing to fall for the likes of you???

Ahm… You still fail to see the flaw in this scenario?

All in a day’s work. A mother’s day

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Woke up at 6:46 a.m. from a bad dream. Stumbled into the bathroom, then into the kitchen to prepare my daughter’s baby formula. Did that, took care that it doesn’t get too cold. Then laid out the clothes I was going to wear for the day (clothes – what an euphemism for jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt). My daughter started whining, I took her out of the kids’ room and bottle-fed her. Then we cuddled for a few minutes. Then took her into the bathroom, changed her diaper and her clothes and entertained her. Came back out, set her down and let her walk around the house a little. She walks like a little duck. Or a penguin. In the meantime, went back into the kitchen and warmed up the milk for my son’s cereal, took the garbage out into the stairway (they’re collecting the recyclables tomorrow, but my bag was already full), put the laundry into the washing machine and set it to “schnell waschen, extra spülen“. My daughter was getting vocal.

7:08 a.m. Decided to go wake up my son, but got startled by his very presence in the hallway. He frowned and scolded me how come I hadn’t woken him up too. I guess we got off on the wrong foot this morning. He’s not his usual cooperative self. I ask him nicely to go to the bathroom, pee, wash his face and put some clothes on. He doesn’t care. I beg. He prefers to draw a bit first. I kindly allow that and go take a sip of water (the first for the day). Then I open the windows of my room, take the pillow out into the fresh morning air. It’s already rather nippy. Go by his room again to do the same there. He’s still not dressed. I kindly put up with this for a while, but when 40 minutes have elapsed and he is still half-naked and starting to sneeze (he doesn’t have an ounce of fat on his body, he’s a bag of bones), I lose it and I snap. I yell some sort of menace at him, about not going to the kindergarten at all if he keeps this up, which throws him into a fit of rage. We make up for the next 10 minutes, amid sobs. It is 10 to 8 by now.

I heave my daughter into her chair (she’ll soon be too heavy for me to carry) and feed her her regular breakfast (the bottle of formula was barely enough to quench her thirst). As opposed to her brother, she’s a voracious eater;  if she didn’t occasionally need to sleep, I bet she’d be eating ’round the clock.

Go figure. And they both came out of me.

OK, 8:10 a.m. and we’re finally ready to go. Oh, wait, something wasn’t quite right in his shoe (the sock got rumpled) so he takes it out again. I’m pleading. He puts it back on, slings his rucksack on his shoulders. We go out of the house (hallelujah!) and get into the car. We drive downhill to the kindergarten, suddenly he’s a different person – mature. He insists to do everything himself, all I have to do is drop him off at the door. Checked. Back in the car, heading for the supermarket.

8:32 a.m. and the parking lot at the supermarket is already full. How many other moms are out there, I wonder? Finally find a slot. Unclench a shopping cart, pick up my daughter from her car seat, put her in the cart. Start pushing.

Push. It’s what I had to do when they were born, it’s what I am condemned to do for at least 18 more years, I guess. So I push. Sisyphus had it easy, I tell you. These old clunkers need some oiling. I push with all my might and the cart barely inches forward. Besides, the supermarket is uphill from the parking lot. Great thinking, guys. You couldn’t level it some more? It’s tough to get in, it’s tough when you come out, full of bags of fruit and meat and packages, and all that inertia that comes with the weight – it’s so great to maneuver that cart downhill back to your car… But it will take me the better part of the next hour to reach that point.

10:00 a.m. Finally made it back home, unpacked for like 15 minutes while my daughter was screaming desperately for grapes. Get her undressed, wash the frigging grapes and give them to her. She quiets down, the munchies gone for the time being. I hurry into my room to check my e-mails. And indeed, one of my customers wants an urgent review of a translation. Thank God it’s very short. I do it, double check and hit “send”. In the meanwhile, my daughter has cleared out half of the CD shelf.

10:20 a.m. I notice in dismay that the letter I was supposed to mail today got left behind and is still on my desk. Uh-oh. Pack the letter into my purse, put on my daughter’s shoes and jacket again, and hoist her into the car once more.  Drive, park, take her out, carry her 200 yards, come back, buckle up, drive back home. 10:55. The sun is beginning to shine, so we remain outdoors. Get her stroller and go for … well, a stroll.  I enjoy a brief 10 minutes of glorious peace, as she walks on her own in the church square, wobbling and plucking flowers.

11.35 a.m. Come back. More uphill pushing is in order. Warm up her meal, feed her, change her, put her to bed.

12:00 – noon. Phew… My turn! I breathe for 5 minutes, then quickly stuff my face. The laundry is still in the washing machine, but I don’t have time for it now. I check my e-mails, the press, tidy up the place a little, prepare some documents for printing and try to catch a glimpse of the Obama-Romney debate (taped earlier). Oh, brother. I don’t have time for this. I write a blog, make a few necessary phone calls.  Do a little reading. Hang the clothes out to dry. Time flies.

14:30. She wakes up, we cuddle, she wants her soother, I hide it from her and we play. She keeps sneezing. I get her dressed in a hurry, to go pick up my oldest from the kindergarten. The moment he sees me he asks if I have something for him. He means sweets. Sure I do, but I’m not that stupid to hand them over just like that. Heck, that’s the heavy artillery. I can’t afford to dispense with that weapon yet. He quickly puts on his shoes, packs his bag, and comes running up the stairs. Then I deliver. We chat on the way home and I do some more of that – yes, you guessed correctly  – lovely uphill pushing.

It’s not even 3 p.m. and I feel as if it should be evening already. It’s also quite dark outside. My son’s best friend is out of town, but he’s in a good mood nevertheless. He plays nicely with his sister and I get a short break. Then he wants to watch cartoons. He does – 4 episodes of Barbapapa. I take the opportunity to feed him some spaghetti. His sister wants to eat again (she ate on the way home from the kindergarten, too!). I give them fruits. I wash the dishes. I prepare dinner. I play with them some, I argue with them some. We look at books, it feels like forever.

Nope. Not forever. Just 17:02. I am ready for a sitcom. Gosh, is this me?! I check my e-mails again, I put another load of baby clothes into the washing machine. I take the kids downstairs where my printer is, because I really need to print those documents pronto. They have toys there and I ask them to play quietly on their own for a while. It only partly works.

6 o’clock. Some more cartoons. Some more dinner. Some more playing, reading and explaining. Then they play with closed doors for over 30 minutes, quiet as mice. I am very proud of them and very happy. Prepare some more documents.

Seven thirty p.m. Time to start preparing for bed. I air the rooms one more time, ask my son to tidy up theirs a bit, which he always does so brilliantly. I have a feeling he takes pride in his tidying.  Lucky me. We eat supper (long story), I wash my daughter, brush her teeth and put on her pajamas. I whisper a short prayer to her angel in her ear, kiss her, caress her and lay her down to sleep. My son and I now have to resort to sign language until she’s fast asleep. I am just about to get him into the shower when she starts screaming. My guess is, either she has a cold and can’t breathe right (all that sneezing, remember?) or she’s too hot. Thank Goodness it’s the latter. I cradle her for a few minutes, her eyelids close and she’s asleep again.

Back to the shower. Then he has to brush his teeth. I dart out for a second. I come back and he has already made himself all snugly-woogly in my bed, blanket pulled up to his chin. He wants his daily story. I make something up about a green zipper which opens onto a magical world, we talk a little about the past day, about tomorrow, try to remember all we have to do in the morning. It’s library day at the kindergarten tomorrow. That means one extra bag to schlep. He asks to go to his bed and we say goodnight.  It’s 21:00.

I turn on the hot water faucet in the bathtub, sprinkle salts and perfumed oils in it. Until it fills up, I fill out some more paperwork, dash downstairs and print it out. I’m back. But now the water’s too hot. While I wait, I also clean up the bathroom shelves and floor – yes, with toilet paper!!! Stop being so surprised!!! My husband never wonders how come the bathroom is clean all the time, he only wonders how come we’re always out of toilet paper. He’s so intrigued by how much I supposedly wipe my ass. He should put a sock in it! (not my ass, his complaining 😛 ). Anyway, he’s away on business now. And I am finally soaking. The downside of taking a bath, however, is that you have to clean the bathtub afterwards. And blow-dry your hair. Or at least mine.

10:30 p.m. Done for the day. Started writing this blog. Couldn’t help it.

11.45 p.m. Finished writing this blog. Plans for the future? Whisper a prayer and crash in my sweet soft bed. Hopes for the future? That my kids stay healthy and that I get a good night’s sleep.

I’m going to need it tomorrow.

Which reminds me, have I set the alarm?

Why some dreams are deaf

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What is the deal with making our dreams come true and all that bla-bla? Why do we always have to make our dreams come true? That is tremendous pressure. Why can’t they just stay dreams?  They’re more soothing that way. Dreams have a therapeutic quality that simply dissolves the minute they come true. The minute dreams come true they lose their luster and somehow won’t keep you happy very long. Then you have to go to all that trouble coming up with a new dream worth dreaming and achieving. They’re  magic while you’re dreaming them, because they’re full of potential.  Materialization simply kills the dream. Because matter is limited.

Beware what you dream, they should say. Instead, all you hear is “you can do whatever you set your mind to”. “If you want it bad enough, you can make it work”, “don’t worry about what other people think”, etc.  So… what is one supposed to do when one’s dream clashes with those of her loved ones? Should we kill the dream? Should we put it on hold? Should we go ahead anyway, regardless of the cost? What do real people do?

We’re at a crossroads. Somehow, all through adolescence, we were made to believe that anybody can be anything they want to be as long as they want it bad enough. We’ve come to believe life only makes sense if we can all be not just perfectly satisfied individuals at every stage, level, and hour of our lives, but hugely notorious too.  Now we’re spouses, we’re parents, and we have to give things up in order to make other things – better, more important things – work. How do we strike the balance? In our thirties we’re already realistic enough to see that: our abilities are limited; our time is limited; our physical strength is limited; our kids also have dreams of their own. So now what? Where does the journey take us from here?

Success needs to be redefined. Are we all endowed for glory? No. Is this fame-chasing even sane? I doubt it. Because it is definitely not wise. For me, “wanting things bad enough” sounds ominously similar to “wanting things in a very very selfish way”. We should be able to make peace with ourselves and live a fulfilling life even without the “grandness”. We should admire the little people more. Someone who has given up a dream for somebody else’s sake will not be considered successful in the eyes of the world. But he or she will probably be considered successful in the eyes of God. What we see as weakness is probably generosity.

Some people’s true calling is to give up their dreams for the benefit of others. I admire these people.  Making somebody else happy, that’s a legitimate dream, too. The individualistic obsession with our own dreams seems autistic by comparison.

A society of egomaniacs?

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Some people think they’re unhappy because they don’t get to meet enough of their personal needs. I think we’re unhappy because we’re too damn focused on our personal needs. Focus on the other person for a change.

Some people think they’re unhappy because they can’t satisfy their ego enough. I say we’re unhappy because we indulge our ego too much. Our ego is blocking the view.

One thing is certain. We’re being instrumental to our own misery. We lack metaphysics. We live artificial lives in unnatural environments and structures, full of big dry self-centered ambitions that lead to nowhere.

Out here in the (aging) Western world, we’re more protected than we’ve ever been, but we’re also more afraid than ever. Go figure.

Are we just old? Or too spoiled? Or both? Have we lost our ideals? Who and what are we living for? What do we derive our inspiration from? We’d have to believe in something first…

It seems we live in age where we just can’t find the right balance, the right kind of ferment for our spiritual growth. Too much chaos is bad because it generates excessive violence and a counterproductive recoil towards an idealized past. Too much security is bad because it turns the majority of us into sclerotic wimps AND feeds the extremist pipeline with those who cannot put their fervor and aggression (both natural characteristics up to a certain point) to better use in our society. These people look for leadership, excitement and a firm “vision” in the wrong lot. They are attracted by the “greater good” ingredient in these fundamentalist ideologies –  but they do so (mis)guided by their own narcissistic agendas.

Let’s face it however, there is a dire lack of inspirational alternatives, both east and west. What, after all, does our society put on the table in terms of grand ideals capable of galvanizing people towards brotherhood and a common goal? Moneymaking? Notoriety? A fancy wedding the preparations of which last longer than the marriage itself? Let’s be serious. A big fall is guaranteed. I am talking about sound, essential ideals that go to the core of every human being.

Some societies have too many unemployed young males vying for a sense of purpose in a macho society. Others, such as ours, have completely emasculated their males (I still equate “real man” with “real sense of responsibility”) with easy success, too many comforts and debauchery. The former blow themselves up in crowded places, the latter implode and are plagued by depression and vice.

Western society has not only legitimized but also encouraged selfishness for the past 50 years. Now it faces a dilemma: how do you implement the painful reforms needed for survival with a population used to always being on the receiving end? The peoples of Europe got used long ago to forgoing individual responsibility for their lives and putting their future in the hands of the almighty State. Now the State has failed them. Try taking the candy away from a child who was used to getting his daily “dose” of sweets. Turns out the State was not such a bright parent, after all. It ran into terrible debt not daring to take the child’s candy away and paying those high dentist’s bills. The almighty State did something else, too, by indulging the child. It made the child dependent and instilled the sense of entitlement in his brain. So a society of little pampered egomaniacs ensued, their only vision – preserving the status quo. For the most part, they have forgotten what it’s like to get up and do something for others, for free, once in a while. For free. Unbelievable. Unheard of. But quite a big source of happiness and cohesion. Not to mention survival.

How stable is a society built upon fierce individualists? Does it not wobble? Can a society of egomaniacs ever survive? Can there even be a real functioning “society”, per se, among egomaniacs?

The only true hope lies in shifting the focus from the self towards cooperation and community. It is a wonderful Christian paradox that by giving freely from that which you yourself do not possess enough of (patience, kindness, resilience, assistance, food), you yourself will be replenished. Call it the multiplying effect of love and altruism if you will. It truly IS happier to give than to receive.

What good has ever come from cold indifference?…

Penny-pincher extraordinaire

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Advertising has got to be the easiest profession on Earth in Germany. You start out with a comprehensive technical description of your product, and then you just add “BILLIG” ( CHEAP) in large, bold capitals on top of it. Or the “creative” version “SCHNÄPPCHEN” (BARGAIN).  Heck, you can sell any rotten fruit, any withered vegetable and any drooping flower in Germany as long as it’s cheap. That’s our daily menu. Look at any mansion and, beyond the impressive and always freshly painted exterior, inside you are bound to find austere rooms furnished with the simplest genuine timber that gives them such a “last century” look. German meals normally have 1-2 courses (compare that to the 5-6 courses of an Italian meal, or the 20-something of a really byzantine East European feast) and those are usually brought by the guests. (I’m just being mean).

No, but seriously, some people would infer from this that the Germans are cheap. I mean, look at how they’re handling the Euro crisis… I wouldn’t say they’re cheap. They’re just, well… frugal. And you can’t really blame them either. Money-making is difficult here, what with all the regulations and stuff, and the only thing that still costs nothing is breathing. Any “offense” (such as parking on the correct side of the road but in the wrong direction) is immediately and severely punished, and a liter of gas is more expensive than a bottle of beer (going on €1,8/liter, actually, right now) so it’s really hard to hang on to money. The workplace is a combination between cubicle-induced psychosis, muted isolation and the most earnest productivity-obsessed torture chamber, and smiles are really rare. The only good thing is, they get served beer at lunch (gotta protect the industry, I guess).

So you can see why money is serious business to the Germans and why they have such a hard time parting with it. What’s more worrying is the effect on the immigrant psyche. I can still remember the days when my husband used to be this careless, wasteful and “irresponsible” youth, that would always buy me gifts and flowers and pretty cards for no reason. Now it’s like: “I see you’ve ordered some books, shall I take them out of your budget?” or “Honey, from now on please keep all the receipts, I want to analyze them and figure out a way to cut back on our expenses…”

At this point, let me just note that I do work, too, as a freelance translator and interpreter, while also being a full-time mom to my two kids and sparing our family budget the strain of hiring babysitters too often (which, as I said previously, are worth their weight in gold in this country). But I make nowhere near as much as he brings in. So that kind of gives him the upper hand in these matters, you see. Or so he thinks. His face turns all tense and worried when I want a piece of cake or an icecream, but not a week goes by that he doesn’t dish out money on very useful stuff such as a new smartphone screen protection film, some new cable for who knows what (maybe he is planning his escape…) or spark plugs for his 30-year-old motorbike. He bought it old on purpose – more things to fix.  Anyway, I usually don’t say anything, because he is this technical and computer guru that can fix anything around the house (and I mean ANYTHING), sometimes by breaking it first, but that’s another story…

Today, however, as I was wrapping up my work on another translation project, I was foolish enough to say to him:

“Phew, so at least I have made back some of the money I spent yesterday” (on that haircut he loved so much)

“What do you mean, SOME of the money?”, he said, visibly panicking.

“What do you expect? Haircut, pictures, a treat for the kids, filling up the car… ” said I.

He looked as if he’d just swallowed a broom. I think he actually started feeling nauseous and would have puked, if only he had been able to bend down. But he was immobilized by the computations in his brain. Noticing my atomizing glare, he tried to play it down and turn the whole thing into a joke, but I’m not laughing.

As a matter of fact, I promised I would get my revenge. I’m sooooo looking forward to the day when I will be out there, pulling all the ropes, making three times as much money as he makes now, and not giving him any. Perhaps, IF he’s good, does the laundry and spends each day with the screaming kids, and IF I feel very very generous, I will take him out to döner*!

Most definitely one of those makeshift places that have an oblique “CHEAP” sign across their menu…

*Döner = cheap corner-of-the-street kebab, full of onion and yoghurt sauce and sometimes wrapped in pita bread.

Life is a cucumber salad

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I’m into natural beauty. I hear people are giving their daughters nose jobs for their 18th birthday. I love my daughter’s nose, and I’d much rather cut up anybody who comes near it. It is perfect just the way it is. Who would want a mass-produced Barbie for a daughter?!..

But that’s another story. This is about me. I’m beginning to grow old. Time forgives no one, bla bla… well, the thing is, I keep noticing these gray hairs here and there, these new wrinkles and pores and spots on my face, and I realize the time has come when my skin just needs additional support systems. I figure nature always has the perfect remedy, so what I do is use a cucumber mask.

It went from a little thin slice now and then, stolen from the kids’ dinner, to hoarding enormous reserves of cucumber in the vegetables storage compartment of my fridge.

And let me tell you, life is full of cucumber moments. Every time I cry at cartoons, every time I don’t get my 8 hours of sleep at night (which is almost every night…), I place a slice of raw cucumber on my face. Whether I’m happy or sad, in love or in the middle of a fight, watching my kids sleep or watching a sentimental movie, feeling elated or despondent, the moment tears start dripping down, I lunge for that refrigerated cucumber. I feel a tear coming and bells start going off in my head: uh oh, cucumber material! And I dart.

So when my husband of 12 years decided – for no apparent reason – to declare his love spontaneously for the very first time (and – may I add – quite convincingly, too) while we were driving the kids to the lake the other day, I looked at him with all the shock and disbelief of someone just awakened from the dead and I almost begged him to stop.

But then I thought, ‘it’s cucumber times like this that we are living for’, and I let the floodgates open. Tears started flowing like tap water. In his eyes too. We just had one of those moments. We kissed, and my son grumbled “Oh, not agaaaain…” and life sort of made real sense. I may have bulging red eyes and a lot of wrinkles, but I feel like someone whose missing child has just been found safe and sound and is on his way home again.

So, next time when life gives me cucumber, I’ll just make a salad.

It’s time

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There comes a time when you look at the person next to you – your spouse – and you don’t know them anymore. And the really sad thing is you look at them and you don’t know yourself anymore. You look at him and you ask yourself: “Who is this person?” But you look at yourself and say: “What am I? What have I become? Little more than furniture, to make the inside of his hollow life a little cozier? Why is my love not good enough for him anymore? No, why is my love not worth anything to him anymore? When have my tender caresses become so unimportant? When has our love, our marriage, our life together morphed into this gigantic tumor that spreads its arteries through my life like writhing snakes, like a million thirsty black ticks? Why is this person metastasizing all his inabilities, fears and weaknesses in me? How come he never misses an opportunity to scorch my pastures, my smiles, my sky? Where has that brook of explosive joy, telepathic warmth, and requited passion gone – trickled down into the earth and disappeared through the hidden cracks of the all-encompassing desert? When has this happened? Where and why?” For all you know, you’ve given your best, you were always present, aware, and struggling. And now? You touch yourself and you think you’re still alive, but you can’t feel life anymore. So you slap yourself to feel anything at all. And you slap yourself because you deserve to be punished for the failure of something so beautiful, for all the mistakes you have made along the way. Maybe, if you had been perfect, if you had been a saint, he would have loved you. He never takes chances on less than perfect. He never takes chances on human emotions.

There comes a time when his indifference is more painful than a cut. There comes a time when your “relationship” no longer is one. No togetherness, no communication, no shared dreams or paths. You don’t trust him anymore, and worst of all, you do not trust yourself to be lovable anymore. And still you squat there in your living room, and you hug your knees and you cry yourself to sleep, convincing yourself that if only you did something more, did something better, did something different, it might still work. You are so fundamentally alone in all of this, and yet you force yourself to love him. You want to see this story through, though every cell will scream out that it’s useless. You will never be happy again with him. Never. You don’t even love him for the sake of reciprocation. You love, because you know how precious that is. How hard to come by, how miraculous to even feel love. And you hope, because you love. Little by little, you come to perceive your love like a stillborn baby that you are desperately trying to resuscitate. You cry some more, you try some more. You think, (like Pink), perhaps all we need is a ” less sporadic pace”. You take over most of his chores, his responsibilities, you buy him time and you fool yourself that if he has it, he will choose to maybe spend some of it with you. That time will buy you life. A little.

And then there comes a time when you were just plain wrong. When love is so dead, it has begun to smell. That’s when you fake it. You fake it in front of your mother, you fake it in front of his mother. You fake it in front of your friends, and, oh, what a lovely couple you make, pretty as candy. You want to salvage the outer shell of it, at least. Being with each other has become a habit you still want to preserve. Pretty soon that facade will break down, too; the plastering will come off little by little, the colors will fade. Pretty soon all your scars will show in plain view, for everybody to gape at. By now, your soul is a rainbow of every shade of humiliation and your home is a walled-in prison full of screams.

There comes a time when all you want is a door. There comes a time to kick the sucker in the groin and run for your life. So long, sperm donor! Kiss my ass and eat my dust.