My husband has been staying at work late this week. I texted him around 5:30pm saying he should take what time he needed, not to worry, so I wasn’t surprised when I hadn’t heard from him by 7pm. It wasn’t until almost 7:30pm that I thought to check the calendar and see if there were a reason he wasn’t yet home. I had forgotten he had a retirement party.
I texted him a few more times. He never responded. This is a common occurrence in our marriage; I am much more inclined to communicate throughout the day. My husband rarely responds, and when he does it’s usually monosyllabically: Yes. No. Okay. Sure.
The retirement party ended at 7pm, but by 10:30pm my husband still wasn’t home. He never texted to say he was staying late. He never even reminded me he had this event.
Finally at 11pm he responded to a text, one in which my frustration was apparent. At 12:30am he finally waltzed in.
And therein lies the vital difference. He can just be gone for an entire evening and not think twice about home. He can carry on with his life as if we weren’t even here.
Can you imagine?
I can’t. I could never be gone for so long and not check in, at least once. This is partly because of who I am, but it has more to do with the expectation that I would be there. I’m the parent that handles evenings. If I’m not there, plans have to me made. My absence must be accounted for.
It’s such a fundamental difference in who we are and how our family factors into our lives. I am at the center of my family. If I am gone, objects must be set in motion to counteract the loss of my gravitation pull. My husband is a satellite. His absence can go unnoticed. He can fall out of orbit without glancing back at our little solar system. At least for a little while.
I don’t think he can ever really understand what it’s like to have the pull of so many lives circling around you. To be the center, always. To never get a break.
It’s hard not to feel understood. It’s lonely.