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The Invisible Wall

I first fell in love with husband when we would sit and talk in the living room of my old apartment in front of the (ceiling-to-floor) windows with the long, white curtains, drinking cups of scalding, black coffee. We would just sit and talk―sometimes until sunrise. I was so completely thrilled to have finally found that one special person and our wedding way was the happiest day of my life.

However, it was not long after our honeymoon when my husband climbed into the tomb called “the office” and wrapped his mind in a shroud of paperwork and buried himself in clients, and I said nothing for fear of turning into a nagging wife. It seemed as if overnight an invisible wall had been erected between us.

When our daughter, Desiree was born she quickly became the center of my world. I watched her grow from infant to toddler, and I no longer seemed to care that my husband was getting busier and spending less time at home. Somewhere between his work schedule and our home and young daughter, we were losing touch with each other. That invisible wall was now being cemented by the mortar of indifference.

Desiree went off to preschool and I returned to college to finish my degree, and I tried to find myself in the courses I took; I complained with all the other young women on campus about men who are insensitive. Sometimes late at night I cried and begged the whispering darkness to tell me who I really was, and my husband lay beside snoring like a hibernating bear unaware of my winter.

Then tragedy struck our lives, when my husband’s younger brother was killed on September 11, 2001, along with thousand of other innocent people. He made it out okay and spoke to his wife to say he was going back in to help those that were still trapped. He was identified only by the engraving on the inside of his wedding band.

Attending my brother’s memorial service was an eye-opening experience for the both of us. For the first time, we saw our own marriage was almost like my in-laws. At the tragic death of the youngest son they could not reach out console one another. It seemed as if somewhere between the oldest son’s first tooth and the youngest son’s graduation they had lost each other. Their wedding day photograph of the young, happy, smiling couple on the mantle of their fireplace was almost mocking those two minds that no longer touched. They were living in such an invisible wall between them that the heaviest battering with the strongest artillery would not penetrate, when love dies it is not in a moment of angry battle or when fiery bodies lose their heat; it lies broken and panting and exhausted at the bottom of a wall it cannot penetrate.

Recently one night, my husband told of his fear of dying. Until then he had been afraid to expose his naked souls. I spoke of trying to find myself in the writings in my journal. It seemed as if each of us had been hiding our soul-searching from the other.

We are slowly working toward building a bridge―not a wall, so that when we reach out to each other, we do not find a barrier we cannot penetrate and recoil from the coldness of the stone or retreat from the stranger on the other side.

  无形的墙

  和丈夫堕入爱河那一刻,我们正坐在旧公寓的客厅里,眼前的白色长窗帘垂落在落地窗前。我们边聊天,边细呷着滚烫的黑咖啡。我们可以就一直这么坐着聊天――有时候可以聊到第二天太阳升起。当时我对他魂牵梦绕,如痴如醉,为自己能够找到一生的至爱而激动不已。结婚那天是我一生中最快乐的日子。

  然而,蜜月后不久丈夫就钻进了“办公室”这个坟墓,他的世界只剩下数不清的文书工作和接见不完的客户。对此我默不作声,我怕自己变成一个唠叨的妻子。就好像在一夜之间,我们之间竖起了一堵无形的墙。

  当我们的女儿蒂塞诞生后,她马上成了我世界的中心。看着她从嗷嗷待哺到跌跌撞撞地学走路,我好像已不再在乎丈夫越来越忙,在家的时间越来越短。在他的工作和我们的家与女儿之间,我们之间的鸿沟越来越明显。那无形的墙好像被淡漠的灰浆接合得更加坚固了。

  蒂塞上幼儿园了,而我也回到大学去完成我的学位,我希望在能在课程中找到自我;在学校里我向所有的年轻女子诉苦,抱怨着男人的迟钝与麻木。有时候,我会在夜里哭泣,乞求黑暗能给我答案,我究竟是谁。丈夫就像是冬眠的熊,打着呼噜,一点都没有意识到我的寒冬。

  不久一场悲剧降临,和其他上千个无辜的人们一起,丈夫的弟弟在9?11事件中丧生。本来他已平安地逃了出来,但他又对妻子说他要回去营救那些仍然被困的人们。后来人们只能通过他戴着的结婚戒指上的雕刻才把他辨认出来。

  参加他弟弟的葬礼对我们两人来说都是很有启发的一次经历。有史以来第一次我们意识到自己的婚姻就跟他弟弟夫妇的没什么差别。他们最小的儿子死于意外时,他们都没有向对方寻求安慰。好像从他们长子长第一颗牙开始到他们最小儿子的毕业典礼,他们之间不再有任何联系似的。挂在壁炉上的结婚照,当年年轻的他们笑靥如花,对现在形同陌路的他们简直就是一种极大的嘲讽。世界上火力最猛的炮弹都无法摧毁这无形的墙。当爱已逝,激烈的争执或打斗都已经无济于事,两个人只能躲在各自无法被穿透的墙后,心力憔悴,精疲力竭地喘气。

  最近的一个晚上,丈夫对我说起他对死亡的畏惧。在那之前,他一直害怕展现自己赤露的灵魂。我跟他说了自己尝试通过给杂志写作来找回自己。我们两人似乎一直都拒绝与对方进行心灵的沟通。

  现在我们正慢慢地在彼此心灵间搭建一座桥――而不是一堵墙。当我们相互敞开心扉时,不再因为无法逾越的障碍而退回到冰冷的石头后面,或者躲避着另一方的陌生人。

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