Ron and I started spending more time together at the camp on the river. It was quieter there, and fewer remnants of past troubles had been swept into the corners. Ron asked me to move back home. I resisted. Part of me was not sure I could return to the turmoil. Another part wanted to gain an ounce of control, make him wait, not let him know I wanted to come back. I could feel that familiar pull of stubbornness – a tool for self-protection? I didn’t want to be alone, but I wanted to keep the power of the threat alive. But who was I kidding, that was all part of why I was here now. I was tired of the threats, of holding back for fear of betrayal, of my one foot out the door.
I wanted to go back to our home, but I did not want to go back to my role there. A role I had created to address my fear of being controlled: the role of an angry woman that resembled a bear in the woods! I knew I did not want to be dependent – but independence was not working either. I needed to feel connected at a level I had never allowed with Ron, or few others. How could I connect without risk, without opening the door in my heart that exposed the most fragile part of my being?
I had deep relationships with women friends without this fear. I could bare deep feelings without fear of being hurt, despite having experienced the mauling of my emotions from other women friends in the past. What held me back with Ron? Was it trust? I trusted that he loved me. I trusted that he would step in front of a speeding car to save me. I trusted that his efforts to make changes in his life were sincere – even when he was unsuccessful. I trusted his desire to make me happy. I trusted his fidelity. That’s a lot of trust! What, exactly, didn’t I trust?
I knew that answer, on the surface. I feared that he would never be able to stop chasing his pain away with alcohol. I wanted him to gain control over the alcohol. I wanted to gain control over the alcohol! To tie up all the horrors in a neat little package and send it to the bottom of the sea. In other words, I wanted to fix his world in order to fix him. But I knew, knew as a cold hard fact, that I didn’t possess that power. And maybe he didn’t either.
The move back took more time. Before the decision to become a couple again could be made, I needed to know what I wanted from Ron. I needed to think about how to handle the things there was no guarantee I could have. My journal was kept busy at all hours. The kayak floated on the river following the pull of the current or push of the wind as I sat in silence. The yoga mat hit the floor over and over again. My paper mentors were pulled from the shelf. It all helped, but ultimately a decision needed to be made by me, for my one life.
I could only go back if I gave up my desire for Ron to act the way I wanted him to act. If I could allow the positive to outweigh the negative. If I could accept the wounds he harbored that were not going away. If I could soften my anger and open that door in my heart.