Monday, April 14, 2008

Flat Affect and the Crushed Rat's Brain

Exactly a year ago my dad and I were transacting, what I had no idea would be his last, big film deal. We were both very happy. I have been transacting all the deals since and on Friday I felt the real weight of this and beaten and humiliated and failed and too weary even to cry. I turned to my beloved. He turned away. Our conversations this weekend were terse and related only to household management and the bed grew huge and mocking. Monday now and with Saturday bootcamp cancelled, I have not communicated by phone or e-mail or voice with another living soul except my children and my mother (tantamount to Rover) and in brief commercial interactions, since leaving the office on Friday.

I shopped and cooked and Dodgered and laundried and drove kids and sat alone reading on my bed. I felt no anger. I went through the motions of showing love to my children but they sensed the hollowness of this. I tried to force tears, thinking that transitioning from numb to sad would put me closer back to feeling love, loved, but was only able to muster a stray hollow sob. I thought perhaps that if Himself would reach me across the bed for me, I might feel something, but we stayed apart.

Several weeks ago our cat Gary came in through the balcony in the middle of the night mewling high pitched, urgent, melodic, ecstatic. He jumped on me, kneading and I pushed him to the floor where I heard the unmistakable crunching of something bonelike under my nightstand. I sprang out of bed and screamed and ran downstairs. I have tried to commonsense myself about my fear of rodents but I have a visceral emotional reaction and it has defied all of my efforts to rein it in. Himself grumpily removed the offending rodent corpse but I slept fitfully. I discovered in the morning that my side of the comforter was stained with blood.

Last night, as I struggled to feel or to sleep Gary entered singing that distinctive “I got a rat and I’m going to drop it on your head” song. The crunching of the vertebrae next to my ear and the blood spattered quilt where I had lain beneath a dead rat came back to me and I screamed. And I felt. There was no rat though but I threw him off the bed anyway. As I left this morning my husband spoke and asked that I not harden my heart against him. My heart is not hard. It was numb and now it is just scared.

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