I’m not looking forward to Halloween. Dan wants me to dress him up as the Mad Hatter and as fitting as that may be, it’s also half of the contest he won with his wife when paired with none other than the Queen of Hearts.
I’m a skeleton. I got one of those Spanish headbands with the skull and the roses, and I’m dressing in black with face paint. I bought him a black shirt with skeleton bones on it so we could be similar, and we did go out earlier for dinner and a haunted house as such:
But this weekend is children and candy and the marital house and having to go out in to the massive garden planted by another woman so that it can be weatherized for winter. In short, lots of work and emotional landmines.
There’s a pre-trick-or-treat party within the community and I really want to bring my pug, but I’m afraid it will be seen as unfair unless the big dog can go, too…problem is, the big dog is overwhelming and not entirely socialized. It’s also an event where I will be listening to how Dan’s wife “just died”, and that is a conversation that I am starting to excuse myself from whenever I can.
I listened to it for six months. I get that he may want to go on telling that same story for years, but not to me. Please, not to me, anymore.
We were at dinner on Friday and he showed our waitress that he was the only one wearing a wedding ring. Insta-whore sitting on the other side of the table, I gave a humiliated look and wondered if things were ever going to seem like Dan and Autumn.
There was a fight because I had taken some of the Halloween candy and stashed it in a drawer. He woke up from his nap (which he invites me to sit with him and accompany him for, resorting in his snoring and my staring ahead blankly at whatever awful thing he cued up on television) and caught me eating the candy before he emptied the entire drawer in a fit, declaring that Halloween was cancelled. As if he had the power to nix national holidays at his whim.
“You owe me a bag of candy.”
I wasn’t cool with that. I left the house without a destination. He called and apologized about candy.
“It’s just candy. You’re right.”
I reasoned it as a much needed “time out”, a session that can’t be had in a place that embodies the entire problem itself. So I stayed gone for a few hours and he texted about possibly having a fire, something we haven’t done.
Later on that night we sat in front of a starter log, each with a glass of the wife’s favorite wine, and we fought by the fireplace, shouting and crying. I started sleeping on the couch and some back pains later I hiked back upstairs to find that he had locked the bedroom door in his own communicative stint.
“It sounds like he’s got candy at the end of a stick, and he’s poking you with it,” my co-worker sympathized. I laughed an awful laugh.
I wrote Dan a letter in the convenient form of e-mail explaining how inappropriate it is for me to hear every other word about his romantic relationship with another person. He had cast her shadow at the cider mill we attempted to enjoy when he guided me to the entrance and declared, “Me and my wife would always sit over there”. Totally spoiled. It wasn’t our moment; it was theirs, and mine never happened. The e-mail goes on to explain how much I need for him to deal with his past, find additional support, and try to move forward while giving me occasional consideration. All in the form of an ultimatum that merely points out the fact that we either continue to sink slowly and die, or find a way to change.
Dan calls the e-mail a “book” and indicates that it was probably too long for him to read.
“So he’s either ignoring it or he read it and won’t admit it,” someone de-coded.
“He took a napkin at the end of dinner, twisted it in to a ghost and dipped his fingertip in spilled salsa to make eyeballs. That was charming. I took it home with us.”
“That’s not taking a turn for the better. That’s a brief plateau before another plummet in this relationship of yours.”
It was suggested that I print and read my letter out loud, but it has its own snarkiness that may be ridiculous all the same.
“It has the line ‘you can’t have your dead cake and eat mine, too’ in it. I’m not sure it maintained decency or understanding.”
“But being in-the-moment offers you the blessing of improvisation,” Kyle pointed out. “I dunno, Autumn. It’s time for you to figure out how this terrible Lifetime drama ends.”
I just know that Halloween happens next. And that I owe Dan one bag of candy.