Last summer at this time I was frantically preparing for my wedding which was to be August 14th. I don’t remember the exact date of the fight, but I know it was in July. It was a horrible fight.
My then fiancé took my cheerful talk about our future (as in, when we have a house, when we get a dog, etc.) to mean that I was discontent with our life as it was. He had been laid off in November and hadn’t found any work at that point. He exploded. I remember that we were folding laundry in the bedroom when he started yelling and punched a hole in the wall. Then he stomped out of the apartment, got in his car, and drove away.
What did I do? I kept folding laundry. My hands were shaking as I put it away. I was absolutely livid. How dare he try to scare me like that?
Eventually he came back. He muttered an apology and tried to explain why he’d been upset. “Oh, sure,” I said. “I guess I’m just not allowed to talk about the future now.”
He stomped out again, slamming the door as he went. I heard his tires squealing as he pulled out of the parking lot.
I started looking around the apartment. Could I gather together enough stuff to get me through a few days, and leave? Could I go to my mom’s house or my aunt’s house? It was 11:30 PM at least, but this was surely an emergency. But then, what about my little guinea pig? I couldn’t leave him behind. In the end, I was standing there wondering numbly what to do when my fiancé came back.
In the resulting conversation he said, “I just want to make you happy.” I wanted to tell him that he can’t control my happiness, only I can do that. He asked why the hell we were even getting married if we couldn’t make each other happy. I tried to explain that happiness is in each person’s keeping, not anyone else’s. Everything was very uneasy, but settled down. For awhile.
Nine months later, after nine months of lonely and fearful marriage, a friend asked me almost the same question: “Why the bloody hell did you marry that guy?”
Inertia, I thought. I have let myself be a victim of my own inertia. I was like water, seeking ever the simplest path, the downward path of gravitation, not fighting, not resisting. For seven years of my life I have let my decisions be based on inertia and the path of least resistance.
This summer, I am working on my divorce papers. I am celebrating life. I will no longer be guided by inertia.
Life is far too short to be passive.