I remember S. Well of course I remember S, we were together for nearly a decade. Not remembering him would require quite an extended, and rather selective, bout of amnesia.
Today, going to the bookstore reminded me of him. His guilty pleasure was the horror novel, and this book store had an entire room dedicated to them. I only passed by briefly as I made my way to the cafe. I didn’t like them then, and I don’t like them now. I couldn’t read them because I got too scared and then would be unable to sleep. I would ask that all the lights in the house be kept on at night and then, after I would fall asleep, he would go around and turn them off.
He would constantly have to take care of me. I thought it was because I was helpless, but looking at it now, I realize I was just young. I was fifteen when we met, eighteen when we got married, and he was approaching forty. He got a wife and a child all in one.
I was mature for my age, but still incredibly immature. When he would say no to something I would stomp my feet and have a temper tantrum. I would run into the bedroom, slam the door and spend an hour or two blasting Nirvana or Blondie while he patiently sat on the couch waiting for me to come out, weasel into his arms and say I was sorry.
Then he would kiss me on the forehead, all would be forgiven, and I usually got whatever it was I wanted. That is how we ended up with a pet bunny.
Even though I never became a fan of the horror novel, they stopped scaring me. He came home one day and I was sitting on the couch reading Dean Koontz. S was irritated, maybe agitated, and I didn’t understand why. I thought he was just upset in anticipation of our electricity bill going up again that night and I assured him we don’t have to sleep with all the lights on. But that wasn’t it.
I am not sure at what point, but one day I started growing up. I wasn’t a little girl anymore, and it made him uneasy. I was no longer asking for games and bunnies (although the bunny was still alive and well in our living room). I was no longer in awe of him. I loved him dearly, but I started knowing things. I was no longer helpless and dependent.
The older I got the more suspicious of me he became. He acted as if I would discover some sort of secret about life and then leave him. If it is any consolation, I have yet to discover any life secrets. But I did leave.
Curiosity is dangerous, and unfortunately I have too much of it. The angrier he got, the more I wanted to please him. So I constantly found new and exciting ways of being a good wife. They have handbooks for this, you know. I was curious as to how it was done, and I thought I had found the way.
Those who knew me then will remember the event, and the aftermath, and the years I have spent never repeating it. Men react strangely to this sort of thing.
The giant section of books today at the store brought it all vividly back. And I realized, for better or worse, for whatever it is worth and regardless of the consequences, I had within the last year wanted to repeat the event, although altered, with someone else. I guess I will never learn.