taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

I have figured out how to buy meat cheaply, and stretch it out for days, into meals that are at best, divine, and at worst, palatable. I have learned how to parse time so that days go by quickly, even days spent entirely in the house. And I have begun to understand the house--its voices, its demands--in the way that one understands a baby after a while. Or maybe I have become the house. This might be what is meant by housewife: I am married less to my husband, and more to the house.

It's not the children who have done this to me, or my husband, but myself. At some point it occured to me that my external life was leading me to places I cared nothing for, into interactions with people I hated, into the godforsaken world; and I was too glad to give it up, to surrender to the seemingly simple demands of snacks and gardens and walks. Now I watch the walls, learning every imperfection and possible fault. I listen for mice and watch spiders spin webs across the window frames. I know every step of asphalt between my house and the neighbors, every tree between my house and the grocery store. I have relinquished the whole wide world.

I miss it, in the way that one misses something that was impossible or an illusion to begin with: the man I thought I loved when I was young, or the books I thought I would read. And this too, it's illusory, and when I return to whatever I return to, this life will seem like a dream from many nights ago.

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