Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Shifting star charts

I put us up to this experiment. Don't let me get away with whining.

Of all possible options, keeping my marriage strong, focusing on my husband's recovery, sacrificing everything I've worked toward for myself was the only way I was going to sleep at night. During the weeks leading up to yesterday afternoon, abandoning my own dreams and aspirations, at least for a season, seemed the best choice. I'm the one who decided to take a semester off, who told Mr. PNU that I'd like him to aim for two or three lectures a month, asked his department for the opportunities, arranged the meetings with his colleague, scheduled the week accordingly around the proposed Ethics and Values section, pushed him to commit to his name and email address on the syllabus he is co-teaching with a tenured member of the philosophy department this Spring. I get him up in the morning. I shower, medicate, dress, and feed him. I pack a philosopher's bag, put on his coat and wheel him out to the car. I drive him to campus, set him up in his classroom, and take notes for him. He is happy as a clam, and, except for the professing, pretty much along for the ride.

And with this choice to spearhead a professional leap of faith, I've started feeling less material. Ghostly. Like a holy force, pushing the wheelchair around campus. Hardly visible. Almost forgettable. Like inertia. If I begin to dissolve behind my husband—if at the end of each day I'm so exhausted that doing anything for myself is absurd—it's my own doing. Nonsensically, I remind myself, this is what I wanted.

On Tuesday I wheeled Mr. PNU up to CB 406 where he teaches this semester. The room is  across the hall from the English Department, and the wall outside his classroom is dedicated to Touchstones Journal. The display is a new installment and I took note. Along with a selection of artwork, Universal Surnames: An Elegy to Argo Navis is framed and hung as a representation of the University of Humble Pie's poetic work. Perhaps this is why I am experiencing the thinning out. In some sense I've become someone, written something that is far more indelible than the hand that wrote it. And ironically enough, I've created a name for myself. Now, if only for a few months while we proceed with this experiment and continue to aggressively pursue therapy, I fear she may disappear.

Don't let me get away with whining.

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