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Thursday
Aug202009

The Heat.

The other night. I sit out on the front porch with Violet in my arms. I'm almost crying. I'm pretty much crying. I'm crying a little in front of the cops and I think to myself that this must be so boring and routine for them. For me: it's already Alcatraz.

Cops are big on eye contact but here today: our eyes don't meet much. I can feel Little Leader's beams shining right through my face, but I don't look at him really. He's too into being in charge for me to just hand it all over to him. I don't want to be watching him watch me be brittle .

Violet, on the other hand....oh Violet, she stares and stares. She smiles. I see the officer at the bottom of the steps when he gets Tomahawked by my baby's sweet toothless gums. He wants to wave, the kind bastard. I can feel it coming off him. I know when people wanna wave at my kid; I feel them feel. He so obviously wants to wave but I think he is embarrassed in front of Little Leader. It doesn't matter. Violet loves these guys for now: their squawky radios and their shiny badges. The guns don't register for her.

Little Leader asks me some stuff and I stagger through it the best I can. Snot is backing up in my pipes and I know if I try to answer with too many words, lava bubbles are gonna gurble out my nose. And that's when I reckon I could likely lose this little biting my tongue battle. The thing is though that these guys think I'm crying because I'm afraid to go jail or something. Afraid of the squad car, and the bright lights in the dull rooms where they finger-print you and take your photo with your hair all fucked up from bittersweet night living. They are wrong though.

I'm more sad because of all this. This bullshit. Cops in our driveway: standing next to my eggplants and bell peppers and writing things on their Cop-Pads and being somewhat gentle when I need them to be assholes. I keep kissing the very tip-top of Violet's head. It occupies me/my mind. I don't think about the impression it might be giving off at the time, but looking back, it can't hurt to be kissing a smooth-tempered baby when you're surrounded by The Heat.

Across the street I see people walking their dogs. Pushing strollers. Soft summer evening rolls up and over all the neighborhood houses and down into the yards. It oozes under the cars parked at the curbs. Robins hop though green grass picking up bugs and worm chunks. I picture some of the people across the street peering though their Venetians. I hear the flimsy aluminum bend and pop as they use their fingertips to pry them apart so they can see through and across. So they can see Over There.

Something is going on Over There, one of them will say.

Over where?, asks the other, crowding in and popping some blinds with his fingers too.

There. The people with baby. There's the husband on the chair on the porch. The cops are talking to him.

Oh yeah, I see him. Hmph. Little Bitch is all ready to cry. Look at him, you can see it from here.

Well, I'd cry too, I suppose. I wonder what he did.

Maybe he killed her?

Killed who? His wife? I doubt it. Maybe though.

He has the baby on his lap.

Oh yeah. Wave at her.

Then they go back to their dinners, their corn-on-the-cobs and bottled water.

Eventually, it all winds down. I tell the cops I don't have anywhere else to go. Any friends or family here? I tell him no. I bite into my lip and stammer and escape into Violet's wonderful hair.

I just want them to fucking leave. I want Monica to finish talking to her cop inside the house. I want her to go back to work. I want to just be me and Violet here in the air conditioning. I wanna slice some supermarket cheese off the brick in the fridge and put my daughter to sleep.

I wanna stop picturing stuff. I wanna stop thinking about lines in the sand and the price you pay. Nothing happened here that hasn't happened before. No one lost it all. No one's drunk and screeching on the front yard. There's no gauze wrapped around anyone's palm. There are no defensive knife gashes. No welts on cheeks. Nothing you can see really. Nothing much went down that the paramedics could get behind.

Even the cops seem a little dazed. Bummed. There's some paperbacks on the floor and that's it. They need shattered glass/the baby bawling/the dogs upset. All they get is some dude with glassy eyes with an angel on his lap.

Anyways life happened if that's what you're wondering. And you are.

Life happened and sometimes that means we're having pizza and beer and sometimes it means someone calls 911. Some words got jabbed into some hearts is all. Happens all the time in our rugged West. Jagged cut bone sentences. Smashed whiskey bottle phrases. Shoved hard and fast with Old Saloon Power into each others faces with just a click of our teeth.

Big Bad Feelings. With nowhere to run to baby. No place to hide.

Reader Comments (29)

Man, you've got stones for putting it all out there, but times like these I can't help but feel bad for reading. Like it should be written, needs to be written, just shouldn't be read by anyone and everyone. Need one of those Men In Black mind erasers. Regardless, "hope" is a hell of a word, keep hanging on to it.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterToby

I feel just the opposite. It should be read by anyone and everyone. I've been there and it's nice to relate to someone else who has too. Well done.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

wonderfully written

whatever happens, i wish only goodness for all three of you.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleyla

Yup, I've been there too. Many more times than I care to admit.

For what it's worth, this was really well written. You kind of had me on the edge of my seat there the whole time I was reading.

Hugs and good thoughts to you both.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

thanks for writing about this. i have been here. relationships are hard f*ing work. people who state otherwise, well, they're not really living.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

i agree relationships are hard, hard work going throught ups & downs, people who can't see it they play theirs lifes [like in romantic movies] I guess it's impossible to live like that [in theatre] as I said at Monica entry, it's so good it's been written down, you both can get/see things in their right perspective, and it's so good you both know what you want for each other, for your family, the rest sometimes happend, that's the way we live with our spouse, I guess we all know that...

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterana_jo

Yours and Monica's love for each other, and for Violet, is wildly apparent, and you are both very self aware. So I truly hope you can sort this out (couples therapy plus individual therapy perhaps?). Babies take in a lot more than we realise; Violet will have clocked that police visit and surrounding stress in her little mind. When I was very young, yelling and violence were the norm in our home, and it affected me, and my relationships, for life. I know you don't want that for your own daughter, and you are both intelligent enough to stop and take stock as you now are. Being a new parent puts all sorts of extra strain on a relationship, so cut each other some slack - seems to me from what you let us know you're both doing a great job.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Wow. I agree that babies take in a lot more than we realize, and while raising my daughter as an infant, I was constantly subjected to this theory. It might be enlightening and meant to be helpful on the path, but really, it's just guilt ridden bullshit. Got it? People fight. Kids cannot be sheltered from everything. Have you ever met an adult who didn't see conflict growing up? I have, and they are just as fucked up as those who saw it constantly. Let's all just aim for a happy medium and stop the freaking "you're affecting your child" shit, because if you are a parent, no one needs to tell you that; you've already crucified yourself for it.

Having said that, I think it did take guts to post this, and I don't think it's a sign of your horrible fucked up anything. It's life, right? Lot of us have been there and we are still standing. Today is ten years for Nick and I - Em is five. We are here today, but of course there are things in our past, and hell, things in our future.

You just keep writing your truth, and we'll keep reading it.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEDW

Sorry you guys are still having trouble, Serge.

As far as this shit goes:

"relationships are hard f*ing work. people who state otherwise, well, they're not really living."

...which was mirrored on Monica's blog, gotta say: hey hey, fuck you both. o_O Sorry Charlie, but there's no need to throw me and other people like me under the bus because our relationships don't mirror yours. Some people fight a lot, some people don't. That's just how it is. I grew up in an abusive house too, and have been through more than my share of shit in this world, but I worked my ass off to learn how to communicate effectively and be in a peaceful, stable, healthy relationship, and I'll be damned if anyone is going to tell me I'm "not really living" or "boring" because of it.

I'm not saying I'm better than you or that everyone should be like this, although I guess I WISH you could experience it because I've had the alternative too and I know how hard and stressful it is, but for chrissakes, there's no need to defensively trash on couples in non-fighting relationships. You have no idea how they got to that point or the level of "pre relationship work" they put into it. And anyways, insulting people for not fighting is just a back-assward thing to do.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

"Hey fuck you both."

That's pretty agressive talk for a "non-fighter".

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Then I guess you ought to be impressed our home is as peaceful as it is. ; ) No one said you have to be a passive person to be in a stable relationship.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

That is a pretty harsh comment Anonymous.. you would think if you have that strong of an opionion on the situation you would at least put a first name with the comment and not hide behind the Anonymous name..

I did not get that he nor monica was saying that couple that do not fight are better then anyone. It's a simple fact most every couple fights at one time or another. and a little fighting is healthy in a relationship. It does'nt mean every coule fights and there is nothing wrong with not fighting either. Every couple is differant.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

Hang in there, man. Keep on kissing your little angel's head. It'll be alright.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfellowdad

I'm impressed with your ability to keep i' real on your blog-- so well written, Serge. I, for one, do not judge you/Monica/the situation at all. I'm one that knows Life is fucking hard.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

>>you would at least put a first name with the comment and not hide behind the Anonymous name..

Babe, we're all anonymous on here. If I used a name, would it really make a difference? I could go by "Shelly" or "Samuel" or "Jesus" and no one would be the wiser.

Anyways, I say what I say with love. I have no beef with Serge, he expressed himself well as he always does, described his frustration and embarrassment poignantly and didn't insult anyone else in the process. However, Monica outright said couples who don't fight have "issues", implied they're lying about their relationship stability, then called them boring and unpleasant to bey around. Follow that up with the "people who don't think relationships are fucking hard aren't really living" comment on here, and yeah, that was enough.

I'm all for helping people not feel so alone in their respective situations, but at the same time, when I was in abusive or dysfunctional or struggling relationships, it really helped to know there was still hope for something less stressful and more respectful. It took work to get to that point, so naturally it rocks that these guys are doing the therapy thing and trying to make it work. I'm just not a fan of the "let's dog on stable couples and act like fighting is ideal" line of thinking.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNo Name

Dude, I didn't say you're boring and if I did it was an attempt to make those of us that fight feel a bit better. I said married couples that don't fight sometimes adopt this self-righteous tone that ends up making people feel like pathetic, dysfunctional assholes for fighting. Then those that fight are embarrassed to talk about it because they feel all white trashy and abnormal. I'd argue that fighting is the norm and stability isn't. That's not to say that's a good thing but it helps folks to know most people have dealt with the same horrible scenarios.

If you don't fight, that's great. I think it goes without saying that a stable relationship is everyone's ideal. Does it seem like I'm implying fighting is the ideal? That would be weird. Often, what I write is tongue-in-cheek. But I stand by what I wrote. We can agree to disagree, sure, but for various reasons I am uncomfortable around couples that never fight. Either they're bottling up issues or they really are THE IDEAL COUPLE which is not the duo I can relate to and I end up feeling like a dysfunctional loser. If it feels like I'm slamming you for your stable relationship, that's just not the case. But if your relationship is as stable as you're implying, in my opinion, you ain't really the person that needs a boost from your peers. It's the folks like me that are scrabbling around for something/someone to relate to and feel a bit better about life.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWife?

I've been there, too. Hang in there!

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarahO

It's very true that it is difficult to be open about having a major argument with your partner to a person who enjoys a virtually major-argument-free relationship existence in their own life.

On the flip side, I don't think that blissfully coupled individuals ever feel shameful or inferior when commenting--either casually or in great detail--about THEIR romantic lives to a friend who doesn't share their experience.

The truth is that there are a whole lotta couples nowadays who do live free of verbally violent major arguments. Most people aren't up at 2am googling about divorce and searching for "Is My Marriage Doomed?!" self-help quizzes.

Ah. I guess I have been in a somewhat related place, but all is betta now. Luckily.

Basically, we humans are usually judgmental assholes and there is always a feeling that we are being judged when we share such vulnerable info.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleyla

They say you can reach a point when all this stuff (fighting/turf war/evil words) go away.
They say this stuff becomes lesser because of love and history.

They say hard times makes you grow.

I dunno.

It didn't help my marriage.

My story is just one of many.

Usually one-or-the-other tires of it and moves along.

All of the past's bullshit weighs too heavily on us I suppose. It ain't fair.

Not fair at all.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ok Monica, no harm no foul. I think the "if I did, it was an attempt to make those of us that fight feel a bit better" part that rubbed me wrong (ie, throwing bystanders under the bus to make yourself feel better). It just seems a lot of people assume stable couples "shouldn't complain" about being dumped on (verbally or emotionally), because after all, their relationships are ok--so they couldn't possibly have any external stress in their lives, and ought to STFU already. It's pretty tiring. But I digress.

Anyway, I think you'd be surprised how many of those people you've been avoiding have already paid their dues in stressful relationships. I can't say I haven't had a screaming match or two in my lifetime--we're just at different places in our lives, that's all. For what it's worth, I hope you and Serge come out of this with more peace than not.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNo Name

I can't stop looking to see if anyone has noticed my latest comments. It just eats at me that you think that only couples where there is actually two people within the couple can actually call themselves couples. I have been in a single person relationship for a lot longer than you and Serge have been married, babe.

It just EATS at me that you people think there has to be two people in a relationship when one is fine. We never fight. Or make love. Or see the other one through the bathroom door.

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNo Name

Uh. If you're going for satire, it helps to be literate...

August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

my man and i don't fight.
ever.
and we are living.
this relationship has brought us more happiness than we ever thought we'd know.

we don't fight because between us we have over 20 years of long, miserable, vicious marriages and neither of us ever want to go there again.

because we've got no fighting left in us, we're tired of fighting...there has to be another way... so we have a promise that when even the tiniest twitch of irritation arises, we talk it out. Get it out there. Sort it out. Nip it in the bud. No festering, no resentment.

And sometimes, when you feel that itch of irritation, and you start to think about how to communicate what you're feeling and why, and then you realise that it's really not that big a deal and the itch goes away. And sometimes it doesn't because it IS important and that's when I let him know....long before it boils and festers and i explode and words get said and things get thrown.

August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Because someone is in a happy, stable, relationship without fighting/arguing doesn't mean they are: lying about it, smug, repressed, not living life, in the minority/the exception to the rule, have some ideal life/no other problems/stresses, haven't gone through stressful relationships in the past, or are unable to relate to those who may be experiencing some volatility, fighting, arguments, whatever you want to call it in their relationship currently.

I wish Serge and Monica the best in their relationship and lives. Having communication issues or other struggles in one's relationship isn't anything to be ashamed of, judged over, or excluded for. Neither is *not* having those issues.

August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterM

original anonymous who started all the drama here. just to clarify- my intention was not to "put-down" couples who do not fight. my fiance and i rarely fight these days and i know plenty of couples who rarely tumble and i envy their stability. not curse it. what i was saying is exactly what my words conveyed. relationships are hard work. and people in relationships, stormy or stable, know this and readily admit it, if they are really living every day fully.

August 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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