The thing about this fight is that it never really is a blowout. It’s quiet, with eye rolls, sighs, and “fine, if that’s what you want to do since apparently all we’re going to do is what you want” along with, “what? You’re the only one who has a problem with my idea.”
But the children pick up the vibe and Lucia heads to her room to avoid it. Grammie heads down to the finished basement to try to figure out her own tech problem, and the man asks Lauren to visit with her outside. The conversation is pointed, but they settle it, return, talk Lucia into rejoining for the movie, then ask Grammie if she wants to also.
The next morning, Lauren shares with him an article about the twenty behaviors associated with angry depressive episodes. That night, as they are getting into bed, she says, “My mom is wondering if staying with us is too much of a strain on our marriage.”
“Geez,” he says.
“I told her it wasn’t, that this is just our real lives and they are closer to it.”
“It wasn’t even a bad episode. We resolved it maturely and away from people.”
“She felt like it was her fault.”
“She just was unsettled that you were upset and she thought it was because of what she wanted to watch.”
He sighs. “I wasn’t the only one upset.”
“I’m just telling you what she said.”
“Here’s what I don’t get. You have a spell or a streak where you try to get your way or control everything, and it’s just you wanting something. I have a reaction where I push back against that, and Lucia is hiding in her room, Grammie thinks our marriage is under duress, and you’re sending me articles on my pathology. Why don’t I ever get the benefit of just having a moment like everyone else does?”
“I didn’t send the article to stick it to you. It helped me see through your eyes what it must be like.”
“You know what I feel like? There’s that old saying. How does it go? ‘Into each life some rain must fall’? You know what I am? I am the rain.”
She laughs. “I mean, we need rain. Everything needs water.”
“Just saying. It must help you to know that you serve a critical function.”
He rolls his eyes. “Thanks. Let’s go to sleep. Gotta recharge the rain clouds. Store up some lightning.”
What he can’t deny, though, is what happens the next day. He stayed up too late on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, got up too early as well. So on the 26th, he takes a nap from 1:30 till almost 3:30. And when he wakes up, a tightness and tension are gone, as though something inside of him has been purged and he is in his right mind again. And he hates that—that being off just a little on sleep brings something on, that he struggles to manage that, that it damages people around him. It is weak and pathetic, he thinks. Of course, he shouldn’t think that—one of the twenty signs is ruthlessness toward one’s self. He shouldn’t think about his thinking either—one of the other twenty is thinking about your thinking and criticizing it. Ok. Time to let it all go for now. Until the next time it happens.