Wake up! Say good morning to that sleepy person lying next to you
If there’s no one there, then there’s no one there, but at least the war is over
Stars, from “In Our Bedroom After the War”
Not our bedroom, or, as it’s been for the past few months, mom’s room. My bedroom.
There’s a dresser and a bedside table missing. Gaps on the bookcase and space in the closet. Only two pillows on the bed, as has been the case for months, but I’ll be using them now, so I shift them, from the left side of the bed, to the right.
The children are asleep, it’s quiet, apart from the fans pulling in the humid, but thankfully fresh air of a cool summer night.
What a relief.
Stop. Deep breath.
And a gut check.
Is that it? Is that what I’m feeling? Go dig in the corners. No repressing, now. What’s really going on.
Grief? — nope.
Remorse? — hell no.
Nostalgia? Gotta be some nostalgia. Remember you’re Russian. Need nostalgia to live. You get nostalgic about the last 15 minutes…. Nyet.
Anguish? Nope. Pain? Nope. Upset? Nope. Distress? Not a bit of it. Sorrow? You kidding?
How about giddy?
So giddy, I almost feel guilty.
Relieved. Content, glad, pleased, blissful, jovial, ecstatic, practically on cloud nine!
Like I said, I almost feel bad that I feel this good. But damn, it feels good.
The kids said goodnight to mom. She went to her place. We had dinner on the back deck. Watched a movie and everyone went to bed — no problem.
Are just my kids like this or are all kids this resilient?
I didn’t want anybody else there, friends, family etc. Didn’t even really want to talk on the phone. It was just a regular Saturday night in the new normal and everything went fine.
Nowadays you don’t have wars end that often with a conclusive it’s over and we won sensation. But I’m thinking that in May 1945 soldiers celebrated of course with a guilty feeling niggling somewhere at them from the misery experienced, the horrible things you saw and also did. But at that moment of it’s over, you set that aside and the questions of what may come next and you just enjoy.
So the weird thing in that analogy is the inescapable sense of victory. I tried to conscientiously think of the relief of not walking on egg shells, of not being in emotional combat, of the kids not crying and just rolling with it and not get all triumphant.
But it’s inescapable. I’m in the house, I’m with my kids, I am certainly wary and often terrified of the future but this is the situation I wanted with the scenario I was presented.
So, screw it, I won’t try to be diplomatic, I survived a very crappy situation. Not everything I did and said I’m proud of, but there’s nothing I’m ashamed of.
So I think maybe a sense of victory is okay if I can except that I can be victorious and successful without the Leaver being a failure. It is ultimately a competition with yourself, to do the best you can. It’s not necessary for her to be the loser for me to have won. It’s like climbing Everest, maybe a rare few think about if they did it faster than whoever else, but really surviving, without having to ditch any of your party and keeping all toes intact, is pretty damn good.