Flashback Memory/24 years old
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Oct. 26th, 2005 | 11:13 pm
Listening: Listen To Your Heart - DHT
Andrew left. He’s gone. Ten minutes ago she was a wife, a lover, one half of a pair. Yes things were a disaster, but ten minutes ago it was a disaster they were in together. And now she’s alone. She’s sitting there in that apartment, that stupid apartment she worked so hard for, and everything that once gave her life meaning just walked out the door. And she’s stuck there staring at his things, their things. Like that portrait. How can she deal with this, how can she hold it together, with that damn portrait on the wall. He drew it three years before, right before they got married. Her hair was nearly down to her waist then, and she wore it down and messy, nothing but a bandana to hold it. And the stupid vase sitting on the kitchen counter. He made it himself and gave it to her one month after they started dating. He was encouraging her to paint, so she painted it, made its blank curves into vibrant, passionate waves. And now it’s just sitting there, staring her in the face.
He doesn’t think she exists anymore, the girl in the picture. He thinks she disappeared a long time ago. He doesn’t understand that people can grow and evolve. He doesn’t see that she can still hold onto her ideals in a suit. That she’s doing more than she’s ever really done before for the things she believes in. Just because she cut off her hair and put away those stupid bandanas he thinks he’s better than her. He called her a sellout. A sellout.
But she’s not nineteen anymore and she lives in the real world. She didn’t sellout, and even if she had, it would have been to support him. It must have been nice for him, sitting in their living room, looking down his nose at her. It’s easy to hold onto your delusions when all you do is sit around reading angry “activists” wax poetic about political tyranny. It must be easy to live that life when your wife would carry you through fire to hold her marriage together.
“You aren’t an artist anymore,” he said. He looked her right in the eye and said that, like a spit in the face and then walked into the kitchen as if that one sentence explained it all. She spent at least three full minutes standing there like that, telling herself he was wrong. He was always so strong, so resolved, that even then she found it hard not to take what he said as true. But it wasn’t true. She did more paintings in the second year of their marriage than he did in all three. He said she sold them and then stopped painting. There he was right. She had sold some of them for charity auctions, candidate fundraisers, all good causes. Then she stropped painting. Because when you spend fourteen hours a day working, 4 hours sleeping, and everything in between trying to salvage your home life, there isn’t much energy left for throwing paint at a canvas. And it broke her heart. But what was the point if she didn’t feel the passion for it anymore? Why turn into him and sit there with stacks of half-finished still-life’s, portraits, and landscapes. He stopped encouraging her. He told her to do something more “real.” There was a time he had admired her ability to say something through nothing but color, shapes, and lines. Then he just got angry that she could create so much straight from her heart and he couldn’t finish a damn bowl of fruit.
So he left her. And she wanted to kill him for it. She’s as passionate now as she ever was. She lives in the real world. It’s people like him who stop the wheels of political efforts, and it’s people like her who point those wheels in the right direction. She stopped protesting two years before because he didn’t have a job. She stopped painting a year after that because she couldn’t take his hatred toward her work. She sold it off because she didn’t want that hatred to spread to her. She loved Andrew. She loved how smart he was, how honest, daring, and creative. And in the end he hated her for all those same reasons. He wanted a doting worshipper and she was ready, but she outgrew him before he could even get his ass off the couch. She got smarter, and more passionate, and more successful. And he just sat there. And all he got was angrier and angrier, and she got screwed. That morning she sat down for coffee, fresh flowers in their vase on the counter, the portrait carefully cleaned. And he walked into the room with a neat stack of divorce papers and laid them in front of her. Two hours later she was standing there alone and empty. She’d ripped out her heart for him long ago and he‘d walked out the door. And suddenly she hated him.
The vase slammed into the wall before she knew she had picked it up. It missed the portrait by at least a foot. The carefully crafted pottery shattered, tiny pieces of her old life littering the carpet. She sank to her knees and started to cry. She cried for all the parts of herself that he had destroyed. She cried all day, there on the floor. She didn’t have to call into work, she’d taken the day off in advance.
After all, it was her wedding anniversary.