One day, not too long ago, right after lunch, I rolled my sweet, innocent bride into the living room. I sat down and turned her wheel chair to face me so we could talk, have a chat, have some quality one on one time without the television as a distraction. I was being purposeful, intentional, really cool.
I gently turned Marty around, she slowly looked up, looking a little sleepy, looked straight at me and said, “Bastard”.
Obviously, well maybe it’s not that obvious to you; I was surprised at the pejorative.
I was incredulous, I looked at her, registered the word and came back with a brilliant rejoinder, “What”?
“Bastard” she says again, hitting all of the consonants and drawing out the word just enough to make sure I understood.
I’m sitting there looking at this sweet woman, she of the broken brain, the person who now laughs when she should cry, the person when asked a question often looks at me, this lovely woman, my bride of 40+ years and she says it again, “Bastard”.
And then she smiles, a knowing smile, a smile that says, “Yeah that’s right, I called you a bastard, bastard”.
I asked her what exactly brought that on and she just smiled like she was glad she had purged herself of the word, the feeling, the anger, the laughter. I don’t know where it came from and neither did she. More importantly she didn’t care, she sat there, self satisfied and clearly cleansed of something in the past.
Now don’t get me wrong, I can be, have been and will be a bastard. I don’t mean in the literal sense, my heritage is not like Jon Snows or Gendrys of Game of Thrones, both of my parents claim me, most of the time.
To be completely honest and lord knows if we are talking about being a bastard I want to be completely honest, on odd occasions I can be a bastard as in a jack ass. I know it, Marty knows it and my kids know it. I have at times deserved the term, but not within the days immediately preceding this particular event.
Marty still has some of her anger, some of her emotions stuck in the past. She doesn’t really register anger or hurt or frustration anymore, unless you really are tuned into her. I know those feelings can be there because we have talked about them before, I know that there is stuff that happened before the strokes that still create some feelings for her. Some of those feelings are good, some not so much.
For the most part Marty has a hard time connecting how she feels about some of those long ago felt emotions, but they are there, kind of unexplained feelings. It’s kind of like having a bruise and you’re not sure where it came from, you just know it’s sore when you touch it.
The real lesson here is it’s a good idea to get over some of your petty grievances now, today, right now because you never know when that irritation, that anger will get stuck inside you for the rest of your life. All of us have a very tenuous hold on the here and now and it takes a microscopic something to break and all of the sudden that irritation, that grievance becomes branded into your psyche forever.
Whatever it was I did either the day before or the decade before Marty doesn’t remember the details, she does remember the feeling, the emotion and that came out as, “bastard”. Like so many things these days it passed and she mostly thought the whole thing was funny.
Me, I don’t care if she calls me a name. Fact is I kind of like that she still occasionally gets mad at me, that she occasionally has the fire in her to feel anger even if it is a ten year old fire. I married a fiery woman, I knew she had a temper when we married 41 years ago, its part of why if fell in the love with her. It’s part of why I still love her.