In the second weekend of December, I had my biggest breakdown in a while.
Most of the weekend feels like a blur, but all of the sour spots seem to still stick out.
I remember a shopping trip to Target where Kevin was talking to me about a struggle he had in his life. As we walked around the store, I trailed him more than usual, biting the inside of my lower lip in hopes that it keep me with a natural face. I was ready to cry, I didn’t know what was wrong, but I knew I couldn’t. “You need to be strong,” I thought, “He needs you now.”
As I continued to drift further and further into silence, we came to a stop. In the middle of the men’s jeans section, he turned to me and asked me what was wrong. Choking back the tears, I told him that I didn’t know, that I just felt so sad. But that it was okay, I was fine, because right now he needed me to be strong. He pulled me in close to him and told me that wasn’t true. He held me in his arms while I cried in the men’s jeans section of Target with shoppers around us.
The next mile marker moment came on a Sunday as we did our grocery shopping. From the moment we walked into the store I was irritated. Annoyed by all the people pushing about, the kids running around the store with their parents no where to be found. “We just need to get a few things and we will get out of here,” Kevin said.
By this point in the weekend I was annoyed. Feelings of anger and lack of appreciation were bubbling when they didn’t need to be.
With Henry I had been the bread-winner of the house… well, the only person to bring home any dough. Everything was bought on my dime. Ultimately, my money became his money and with that transition, with the time this went on for, away went the lack of shame and embarrassment Henry originally felt and away went any appreciation I thought I got.
At this point with Kevin, we were living together, splitting bills and taking turns picking up the checks. We typically keep things at a fair balance, but there was usually the one week where he had more to pay for bills than I did. I think this may have been one of those weeks.
I remember walking through the grocery store and thinking to myself, “It’s okay, it’s his turn to pick up the tab.” It wasn’t that I didn’t have money, but that I had swiped my card for all the things we picked up prior to that.
When it was time to checkout, we used the self-service checkout, which was probably a bad idea to begin with. He scanned the groceries and sent them down the belt to where I stood waiting in frustration at the other end. We got to the end of the groceries and it was time to pay the bill… it was time for ME to pay the bill.
I pulled up my Shoppers app to enter the discount code and coupons, figuring it would be something easy to do – click the value member button and scan my phone, right? Wrong. It wanted me to enter a number, so I began entering the number on my phone. Kevin commented and asked if it should be my phone number before I even finished. Annoyed I slammed on the button to delete everything I had entered and pounded my phone number onto the screen. Nothing. I continued to get mad, this one simple task wouldn’t work. Finally, I begrudgingly gave up and decided to just pay. By this time, the line behind us continued to grow as all the other customers in the store made their way to the checkout lanes. I don’t remember the card reader working. Honestly, I don’t even remember processing the payment. I do remember wanting to rip the touch screen from the processor, wanting to punch in anything I could, falling into an absolute fit of rage.
I left the store with my head hung low and feeling embarrassed.
Part of it had been the frustration with the technology and the situation, the other part of it was the dark feelings I had pushed away. Even though I rationally knew that Kevin had contributed his fair share and had picked up groceries more times in a row then I had, I felt bitter and betrayed. The hurt from before rose to the surface and had reared its ugly face.
*Some names have been changed