I see the moon and the moon sees me…
October 25, 2012
Was that a harvest moon? Large and orange, hanging low in the sky. Hanging low in the sky on an evening while I followed the ambulance transporting my husband to the emergency room. What is wrong with me? Seriously. How could I notice the moon in the middle of all that chaos. How could I not notice the moon? You would have seen it too. The world could have been coming to an end and you would have looked up at the darkening sky and said out loud, “Wow, look at the moon.” Of course, I don’t think I spoke out loud, for with whom would I have shared my awe. With whom would I have shared anything?. I was living a big secret. A big messy, ugly scary secret and that night it started to unravel.
The evening began as it had for the past few months. I listened for the garage door to open, feeling the rumbling beneath my feet. And then I held my breath, listening, counting the footsteps as my husband made his way from the car to up the stairs and with each of his footsteps I tried to discern his condition. How slowly he walked, how heavily his feet hit each stair, but tonight instead of the slow, heavy, cumbersome steps, there was a stumble, a crash, and then silence. I ran to the stairs and found my husband slumped awkwardly there and I’m sure I said his name. “What are you doing?” One of the many silly questions I would ask him over the years. And I helped him to stand and led him to the couch in the family room and he mumbled, “I’m fine.” One of the many silly lies he would tell me in the years to come.
If it had not been for the blood, I would not have called 911. If it had not been for the blood, perhaps my husband would not be alive today. Within minutes of being deposited on the couch, my husband passed out. This was not unusual. In fact, generally, I was relieved when he passed out. But tonight there was blood. He was bleeding from his head. This very fact, these very words allowed me to call 911 and say, “My husband fell down and hit his head. He is bleeding.” Yes, they would send an ambulance, but details. They wanted details. Where did he fall? Is he conscious? Is he breathing? “No, I can’t wake him up, but he’s breathing. I think he fell because he is drunk. I think he has a problem with alcohol.” There I said it.
Back to the moon. Sometimes I think my ability to notice the moon, to be distracted by its beauty, was what kept me sane for all those years. But sometimes I think it’s what kept me in that marriage for so long. Now that I’m out of the marriage, but not completely out of the mess, I still look for the moon. I look for the light in the darkness; and when the moon has waned to nothing, I search the darkness and wait for the stars to come out.