Taking Turns

By Leify

Do you ever take turns?

I just realized a secret, a sort of balancing mechanism that keeps my relationship going. I don't know how or why, but we take turns.

It was really hot last weekend. What should have been a blissful four day weekend turned into wretchedly long, suffocating display of the efficacy of global warming that left me longing to return to my air conditioned cubicle. It was a holiday of heat, misery and death. My hamster Blanche that is, died in the heat. Her little heart could not take the heavy atmosphere any longer, leaving lonely Binky to carry on in the cage. It was so hot in our new upper floor apartment that my hamster died of heatstroke. That is the kind of weekend it was and this time it was Sara's turn to be strong, and for me to be weak, very weak.

I lost it. After so many days trapped in the heat, broke, too hot to hike, not able to shop or afford a place with AC, I took the death badly. I cried. I felt very responsible for her death, I should have taken precautions: "But you did" my wife Sara told me, being strong, "you did." Sure I kept their water bottle full and gave both of the rodents frequent baths to help them cool off during the heat spell, but it was clearly not enough. It was just a hamster she told me, it was an act of nature, you could not help the heat. Then she added: "You can not continue to take responsibility for every thing bad that happens around us." She was right, bad things have been coming hot and heavy for a while. Clearly it is not all my fault.

The irony behind her comments belie the times that I have been the pillar and she has been in need of strength. The times that I should have totally crumbled but did not because she needed me. She needed me to not crumble so I did not. Simple, mind over matter. An interesting and effective motivation.

Sometimes I even find myself being the first one, selfishly to complain, just to elicit strength and resolve in my Sara because sometimes it is what she needs to carry on.

Life is pain and living is dealing with pain. Living is not giving into the depression that is caused by the suffering of others, or the sickness and the loss of those who are close to you. The general lack of "fairness" in our rat race world. The bad times are the time when neither of us can be the strong one. Fortunately they do not last for very long because one of us will inevitably give in and be the resolute one because we can no longer stand seeing the other in such agony. I will always be there to take turns with her, together we can make it through to the other side.

Leify is the author of other pieces in Archive. Please also see SLEE's The Final Voyage of the Leopard Gecko.

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