This post is more of a stream of consciousness.
Eleven dark floors down from the balcony. And only one step left.
She is standing on a chair, looking down, holding onto the railing, shaking. I don’t see her face, but I can imagine the expression. Alternating between determination, ferocity, fear, utter terror and savagery. And a tiny bit of reason behind it all. Or maybe I am just imagining that last one. Because this could be it. End of the line. Easily.
How did we get here? How? I am bewildered and frozen, unable to move. I had talked her off the ledge so many times before. Or dragged her off the ledge, more often than not. But tonight, I cannot. She hit my biggest triggers, whether it was intentional or not, I do not care at this moment. Rejection. Feeling unwanted and unneeded. It doesn’t hit me like a truck, no. It slowly mows me down as the feeling spreads, like a road roller, flattening my mind under the asphalt of useless despair.
And so I am stuck, watching her, alternating between the urge to run and save her, yet again, the voice whispering in my ear “She doesn’t want you, remember? And she is showing it to you, once again, that she values her feelings more than yours.” And another voice, one that I am ashamed to hear, the lying voice repeating what she said so many times to me: “If she goes through with it, at least it will be over, no more torment, no more worries about her, no more unbearable burden.” I hate that this voice is so strong tonight that I cannot move. Usually I react instinctively, pull her back inside, takes the pills away, push her on the bed and hold her there, listening to her soul-tearing pleas to let her go, but enduring until the moment passes. It always passes. And so I put all my mental and physical efforts into keeping her safe, knowing it will pay off.
But tonight I am stuck. I sit and watch and wait, helplessly. Not even crying. Not feeling. She says it’s a form of dissociation, when all the feelings are gone. She knows. That’s how she survived the horrors of her childhood. I’ve seen her go into this state after particularly bad flashbacks, when the torment that Dante could not have imagined, let alone described, suddenly gives way to the eerie calm, at least for a time. Sometimes it’s an eye of the hurricane, with more torment on the way.
She whispers, in one of her child’s voices: “Bye-bye!” I still cannot move. Cannot watch, either. Another minute passes. I hear the balcony door sliding open. She steps inside. I am still frozen, unable to overcome the voices I don’t want to hear. I don’t even exhale from relief, too dissociated to feel anything. But I watch and listen. She grabs her cup of water from the coffee table. A good sign. Then she grabs the sedatives, and the sleeping pills, and something else from the bathroom. A very very bad sign. I manage to utter “Don’t…” She doesn’t even look at me, but somehow she shows with her body language that she heard me but doesn’t care. Not now. In the moment, I do not care, either. Well, I do. But the care, my constant companion for as long as we have been together, is behind a veil now. Not a veil. A wall.
She runs out of the apartment, holding water and pills, no phone, no keys, barely dressed. Another bad sign. It has never gone that far. I am still sitting and not moving. She had ran out of the apartment before, and I found her in the stairwell, sitting and crying, then took her hand and dragged her back inside. Minutes pass. I watch myself getting up, putting shoes on and walking out. The door is left unlocked, she didn’t take her key. And now I am outside, walking. Not looking for her, just walking straight in whatever direction I happened to face.
Walking used to be my coping strategy. When my marriage of thirty-old years broke down some years ago, for which I accept my share of responsibility, I used to walk for hours on end, rain or shine, sun or darkness, lost in my thoughts playing over and over and over in my mind. I had no one to turn to, to talk to, to share my feelings with. Utterly alone, I had to do all the coping on my own. Step after step, welcoming the pain in my tired legs, letting the thoughts and feelings spin around and around. I remember one day walking across an overpass and feeling tempted by the concrete below. Leaning down and looking. But even in the worst moments of those weeks and months I knew with certainty that I did not want to go through with it. Not out of fear, but out of hope. Eventually, the feelings got duller from constant use, like an old blade that used to cut deep, but now just leaves a bruise. Feelings morphed into memories.
Hope. Unlike me she doesn’t have any in those moments of utter madness and despair. I don’t know where she is now, but walking helps me think. It’s a familiar ritual, and so I am putting one foot in front of the other, tick-tock, step-step, walking and thinking, thinking and feeling, feeling and walking. And hoping. Eventually checking my phone. “Nothing,” notes my still very detached brain. Step-step. Block after block, lights, crosswalks, cars passing by. People walking their dogs, dogs sniffing the scent of the dogs before them, happy young couples, all dressed up, returning from some place fun. A boy and his father, throwing the ball to each other. Humans, living happy human lives. I walk on. A familiar territory, and in some ways comforting, though not the kind of comfort I would willingly choose.
A light tremble in my pocket. It’s a message from her. A heart. So she made home, at least. I still feel nothing though. Well. Not quite nothing. A tiny bit of relief. I send a dot back. All I can manage. And walk on. It takes me a couple of hours to make it back home, hurting with every step, unaccustomed to walking non-stop for that long. “I better get in shape,” notes another detached voice in my head.
She is on the sofa, proper angry. “Why didn’t you stop me?!” I don’t answer. Just make sure she ate and drank something while I was out. First things first. She is not done though, it looks like we might be having a proper fight, if you count one-sided blaming and yelling as a fight. I don’t have it in me tonight to put her in her place. And she needs to be in her place, that’s where she feels best, tamed and restrained, physically, verbally, mentally. Without it, she is out of control. “Even my father would have pulled me away!” Right. Compared to her pedophile father, unfavorably. And, from what I know of him from her description, he would have pulled her away, no doubt about it. Narcissist and abuser, he still would have taken care of his property, including his children, in his own way. So, she is right, in a way. Cruel, definitely, but not wrong. And this time her words do hit me like the proverbial truck. The emotional defense is kicking in, I am numb and dissociated again. She talks about missing her ex and her cats. “At least he loved me!” I don’t bother to engage. The word “love” is a heavy weapon, and I am unfit to wield it. Or to parry it.
I barely remember the rest of the night. It probably wasn’t pretty.
I am off to work early next morning, back home around lunch time. She is still struggling badly, unable to get out of bed. I can’t make her eat, but manage to cajole her to take her morning meds. I boil a couple of eggs for her breakfast before heading back to the office. In the evening the situation is not much better. Something triggers her, and she tries to get on the balcony again. This time around I don’t tolerate this nonsense, though. Exasperated and frustrated, she throws her sock and one of her tops off the balcony instead. That’s quite enough. I tell her to put something on and walk down with me to get it back off the ground. Grumbling and shaking, she reluctantly obeys. This small act of submission sets the tone for the remainder of the evening.
I remind her that we have a package with a new toy, bed restraints. She is all excited and sets to unpacking. Not ten minutes later, and they are all set up and ready for use. And so we do. She is naked spread-eagle on the bed, tied and barely able to move. I finger fuck her hard, and torture her mercilessly. Gotta get some of the pent up frustration out. I alternate between fucking her with my cock and torturing her with a wand, forced orgasms one after another. Biting, twisting and pulling her nipples, her ears and anything else I can get my fingers on and sink my teeth into. It feels nice not to give a fuck, but take what I need. Eventually I’ve had enough, and come all over her chest, neck and face. In a break with our usual custom, I leave her tied up, covered in cum, while I get cleaned up and get a drink of water. The bitch can wait. Eventually I untie her, but refuse to let her wipe the cum off her face and body. I shoo her into the shower, and off she goes. Much better.
She remarks how she needed to be fucked and how the sex helped us reset. We make dinner, cuddle on the sofa while watching another episode of a formulaic but funny show. The crisis is over for now. The emotional scars are invisible and hopefully are healing a bit. But we both know that this is not the end. Stability is not a word that can be applied to our life by any stretch of imagination. As she puts it “at least it’s not boring!” I just hope that it doesn’t get that close to the precipice, literally and figuratively, any time soon.