The night we went to the party is the night my mask slipped in a way I can never allow again.
I had been apprehensive. She was new and I felt encroached upon, and despite our cheerful and amiable agreement to talk about it in person beforehand, my chest was caving in. You know the press of anxiety on your chest (and you’re lucky if you don’t). Our sex life, mine and his, is mostly maintenance nowadays, while he does the fun stuff elsewhere, and considering my sex life is 99% him, sex is largely a chore. The SSRI makes even enjoying it tiresome. I’m bored, I said. I feel inadequate, he said. My old friend, inadequacy. Doggy style beggars me and you feel inadequate? I said to myself, dryly.
My chest caved in some more.
The scene earlier in the day went bad, I flashed back to an old abuser, his anxiety over me increases steadily every time something like this happens. He says he’s willing to keep trying, but actions speak louder than words and silence speaks volumes, and the silence of his actions is ringing in my ears.
We’ll go spelunking. It’ll be a fun adventure.
We got to the party and I slipped into the world I visit from time to time when I am alone. He wouldn’t move the car, afraid I would jump out. (He’ll never know I couldn’t move.) The doctor called it a micropsychotic episode, I call it slipping behind the veil. This world, that existence; that is where I live each day and pass it through the assembly line to be picked at until it looks human. I’ve gotten rather good at talking to myself without speaking.
Are we lost?
The familiar sting of a metaphorical slap came when I stumbled across the picture on the porch; self-satisfaction I will never have. Despite exterior calm, I shook, and no one knew it wasn’t from the cold. I shook for fear and love, I shook for things he’s getting elsewhere despite my crying out for novelty, I shook because I dared not cry. I still won’t cry. The pictures say it all — they’re not of me — but I was told this would happen. I was told I’d not just feel inadequate but be inadequate. The mask stayed up while the monologue turned to flames.
Isn’t there a map?
The cavern in my chest where my heart was expands each day; my heart lies within it but the cavern will never be big enough to protect it. Do I let the adventurers find it and prize it as loot, or do I play the asshole DM and summon a dragon when I’ve been backed into a corner? The bigger the cavern, the more demons come to reside in it, but the demons protect my heart. I have lost it before.
I guess we’ll have to find our own way out. Come on, we’ll do it together.
My mask is on tightly again, or I should say, I cannot let it slip again lest the world see more of my inner rooms. Existing in a constant state of panic is tiring; hiding it from the world, even more so, and sometimes the pressure builds up and I need a break, and then I break. He says he’s here for me, but I never wanted a brace; I wanted to walk again. He uses my rope on people further down the rabbit hole than I, and yet the broken one is me. He is satisfied with my unsatisfaction, and I see him walking out ahead of me, but I am not sure if I ought to follow. It’s warm here.
Let’s rest for a while.