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.