Monday, June 28, 2010

How's Greg?

People don't ask me all that often any more.  Mainly because when they were asking initially, they were often met with a steely glare, a significant pause, and then one of two answers, 1) "Well, I haven't killed him yet, so he could be worse." or 2) "I don't know, I don't talk to him."  Gradually, the questions tapered off.  But, I know people are still wondering.

Greg's easy to like, and I know a lot of people who know us are genuinely concerned and miss him.  And probably more than one person wonders what a nice guy like that is doing with a sour puss like me.  He's generally more affable and comfortable around people than I am, and for pretty much our entire lifetime together, he's been the more cheerful, optimistic one.  Definitely, he was the more laid back member of the family.  So, I know that it must be hard and worrisome to realize that, with all these months behind us, he is still struggling so much..  All that easy-going likability buried in a landslide of grief.  Not there is much anyone can offer to do for him, but now that the anger and hurt I felt initially has faded from red hot to smoldering orange, I accept that people want to know about him, and I am the logical person to ask.  Problem is, I don't know what to tell them.

We do speak now.  The ice finally broke on his birthday.

For the first few weeks after he left work, we had a very tenuous detente.  We could talk about the house and groceries we needed, we could discuss sports, and occasionally politics, but that was about it.  If we could bottle the chill that settled in a room when we were in it together, we could have make a fortune in summertime Texas!  Marissa would every so often insist we go to a movie together just to try and get us to re-bond, but the great thing about movie dates is you don't have to talk.  I figured this is how we would roll for some time to come, determined to keep a lid on things, but still nearly boiling mad.  But, for some reason that I completely don't recall now, he became angry with me the day before his birthday and remained so the next morning.  I was completely livid in return.  I thought to myself, "Well, you [expletive] [expletive], I'm supporting you and you dare get mad at me!"  The animosity was so bad, I spent most of the day at my desk randomly wiping away tears feeling as though I been dealt an actual blow.  So, by the time I got home that night, still being faced with the silent treatment, I exploded.  I won't detail the blow-by-blow, but suffice it to say, as far as how marital arguments go, it wasn't that bad actually.  We have definitely learned a thing or two over the years about how to bicker without leaving too many mental scars, and all that training kicked in after the initial blow up.  But, it wasn't exactly the way I think any of us wanted him to spend his birthday.  Marissa left the house for the night, not sure what was going on, but able to discern the tension.  That, for me, was the most regrettable outcome of that night.  The rest of the results were, somewhat ironically, positive.  With things out on the table at last, we could move past it.  And we could begin to make plans for the future.

However, we still live in the present.  And in the present, I don't actually know how he's doing.  Because, while we may be talking freely now, if you analyze the content of our discussions, they don't differ that much from what they were before.  Greg spent Sunday afternoon explaining soccer rules to me so I'd understand what the officials were calling in the World Cup, and we had spent the morning buying new tile for the downstairs bathrooms.  That was before he took me to the Thundercloud Subs near our house, the one managed by the Steeler fan, so we could show off the purse he surprised me with Friday night (when a friend asked me why he bought it for me, I replied, "I don't know, maybe because I haven't pulverized him yet.").  However, try and ask him how he is, and you'll be met with a non-commital shrug.  So, if you analyze the actual topics of our conversations, they don't differ that much from what they were immediately before the Birthday Brawl.  They're just friendlier.

Because, at the end of the day, he's still very typically male.  And, that's to say, his emotions are bottled up tight.  What I'm left with is my own observations about how he's doing.  More on that in my next post.

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