Monday, September 25, 2006

All the King's horses and all the King's men

I've always had an ear she could bend. That above all else.

This evening was a different kind of evening in my experience. A friend of mine — a very long-term friend; we've known one another since high school — is going through a very rough spot in her marriage. The reasons are myriad, complex, and delicate; there's nothing TV-cliche or simple about what's going on. They are on the verge of separating, and what's astonishing is that the ball is essentially in her husband's court as to what will happen. As she chillingly outlined the realitives of the situation, I was struck by how much it was like a moment in a game of chess when you know you've made a mistake that will end the game, unless your opponent chooses — knowingly chooses — a move that prolongs things. There is nothing my friend can do but wait and see what the move will be.

She asked me out to dinner this evening, I think because our history has always featured me as someone she can talk to. We had a brief, inexpensive meal, and then sat in the car in a parking lot across from her home in the pouring rain. Her composure was admirable; the sky did her crying for her. There are hopeful signs, and there are discouraging signs. It's impossible to guess what will happen. The next weeks will be long, tense ones for her.

Even though I'm only on the sidelines, I found that song took on new meaning for me. Stepping into the men's room at the restaurant, I heard the speakers playing If You Leave Me Now by Peter Cetera. When I was a teenager, the song was pretty-sounding mush. This evening it really gelled. The lyrics came into sharp focus, and every one of them suddenly made sense. I was hoping she wasn't listening in the women's room. Luckily she'd made her way to the front door by then.

On my way home, the Depeche Mode song Personal Jesus. I first heard the song driving to another friend's house in summer 2000. I always liked it because it sounded cool and powerful. But this evening, again, suddenly the lyrics just dropped on me and made sudden, personal sense. Coming back from such an evening, I finally got what the song's about in a way I never really did.

I don't know how things will work out for them. I only know she's scared, feeling powerless, but hopeful. She wants things to work out. I think she's tried hard, and I hope she gets her wish.


Polt said...

I think I know who you're talking about, and if so, I'm so glad you're there for her! I know having someone you trust to talk to has to help in some fashion, and I'm glad you're the one, since you seem like a real decent guy.

Best of luck to her, and my thanks to you.

m_o_o_nspells said...

I thank you both so much for your concern and means more than I can express.
We're taking things day by day and hoping they will get better as we go...
*hugs you both*

teflonjedi said...

Going through something very similar myself...made harder by the fact I've been in China for the better part of the last two months. You're a good friend to your friend, to provide the compassionate ear.