Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Waiting Up

Woke up this morning in my husband's arms, sadder than I've been in a long time. It takes a few seconds to remember my brother's visit, the reason for the sadness, driving him to the airport etc...I start thinking about a trip to France. But I don't know if I'm ready to see my sister-in-law yet. I know that it's unhelpful to start pointing fingers, that it takes two to tango. In my head, I know these things. But in my heart, he's my brother, I love him and she hurt him. I don't want to see her anytime soon.

Lay there for a little while weighing my chances of getting up without waking my husband. In the end, I decide it's hopeless so I turn over in his arms, put my arms around him and squeeze as hard as I can. I need the comfort and since am going to wake him anyway I might as well get something out of it right?

He smiles but with his eyes still closed. I feel an answering squeeze. Then his hand starts moving, stroking my hair and my back. I find it so relaxing it makes me sleepy. Getting up for work becomes a distant thought.

In my drowsiness though, I can't stop thinking about divorce. How cold it is. What makes it happen?What makes two people who built a life together decide to tear it down?

And somehow my garbled thoughts lead me to feeling guilty that am lying there, safe in my husband's arms, enjoying my marriage when my brother is suffering the end of his relationship, maybe even the loss of the right to raise his own daughter. Suddenly I can't breathe, I need space. I ask him to let me go and he does. I roll over and out of bed. I look at him to see if I was too abrupt, if I offended him. But he's gone back to sleep.

I get ready for work as quietly as I can, careful not to disturb him anymore. At work, I'm distracted and slow. Less than an hour at my office then I was on the road again. Had to attend a presentation with a client.

After the presentation, everyone was looking at me expectantly. Am the consultant right? I represent my client's best interests. It's my job to grill the vendors, to ask follow-up questions. Except I didn't hear a word of the presentation and have no idea what it was all about. I even had trouble recalling the product the meeting was about.

I got out of it by saying I had some questions but I would prefer to put them in writing and receive a detailed technical report in response. The vendors looked relieved to be let off the hook - even temporarily. The client's representative gave me a funny look. My manager was frowning at me across the table. He wasn't pleased about my cop-out. He tried to cover up by asking questions about his end of things - money. Pointless really because if we don't know if it's the right product yet, what's the point in haggling about prices?But I understood that he didn't want it said that we - as consultants - contributed nothing to the meeting. Consultants aren't supposed to ever admit to being mere spectators.

I knew that it wasn't irreparable damage. We were given the presentation on a CD so I could always go back and look at it later and write my report or pose my questions. But I also knew the scene with my manager back at the office wasn't going to be pleasant.

Driving back to the office, I tried to stall the inevitable by stopping for coffee at Starbucks. It didn't take more than 10 min to pick it up but the secretary was already calling me, saying the boss would like to see me 'at my earliest convenience'. Bad sign that. He didn't call me himself. He had his secretary summon me.

I toyed with the idea of chickening out a bit longer. I could always claim to have been out visiting clients or something. But I decided that was beneath my dignity. I was a big girl. I messed up and I had to be old enough to deal with the consequences.

The pep-talk on the way back didn't make it any easier. My manager is vicious when he thinks you've embarrassed him and he's had years of experience in getting under my skin. And he always gets to me. I can never just disregard what he says the way I can with so many other people. It stings everytime.

Afterwards, I left his office, went into mine and had to sit down for a few minutes. I felt like I'd been stabbed in the stomach. My stomach hurt so much it brought tears to my eyes. I closed my eyes and did some breathing exercises. I talked to myself, telling myself it's ok, I wasn't going to be fired over this, he was just angry etc... Felt the pain recede but the incident left me with a headache. Great. That's all I needed. Bring on a stupid migraine won't you?

When I was composed again, I sat down to see that presentation. I wanted to have my report on his desk as soon as possible so he won't have an excuse to speak to me for a while. Whenever I clash with my manager, I always spend a few days doing everything possible to avoid coming face to face with him. Which isn't easy because he's the kind of guy who has a temper, flares up and then feels bad and tries to make amends. He won't come right out and apologize of course, not even if - unlike today - I hadn't done anything wrong. But he'll start acting all hearty and over-friendly with you. And how are you supposed to rebuff the boss? It drives me nuts because when am mad at someone I can't bear to see them. I don't want them to make amends. I just want them to stay away from me.

Other than 45 minutes spent at another meeting, I spent the entire day working on my report. By 3:00pm, it was done. I emailed it to him. Then I printed it out and left a hard copy with his secretary. And I made my escape. Left work an hour and a half early.

Had a sugar craving so I went to Dunkin Donuts for coffee and donuts. A friend called and asked where I was. Told her and she said she would join me. Great. I was counting on eating lunch at home with my husband for a change. We don't often get to see each other during the day.

When she arrives, she is carrying some newspapers, all open on the Appointments pages. It agitates me. She has her dream job. There's no reason why she would be looking at ads for vacancies for herself. But her ex is a loser who treats her badly and can't seem to hold down a job. If she's looking then she's looking for him and that can only mean they're back together. I'd seen it happen too many times before.

But I don't try to question her. I was too saturated with my brother's problems and my own day at work. I didn't have the stomach to listen to her defending him, saying how he changed etc...It might have been callous but I didn't have the energy to deal with a friend who keeps going back to an abusive bf on top of everything. So I just didn't.

We chatted a bit about inconsequential, girly things. After a decent interval, I excused myself and told her I had to get home. As luck - and traffic - would have it, I got home too late. My husband had already left.

I felt drained and exhausted. So I took a shower. Then I got into bed and called my brother to check on him. He was aggressive today, telling me to stop hovering over him, that am not helping, that that's why he doesn't want my parents to know because he doesn't feel up to coping with questions, probing, fussing etc...that he needs time. Time for what? But I knew better than to ask.

I told him to take care of himself and be strong. I was crying but I don't think it showed in my voice. It would have made him even madder. Then I hung up.

And cried myself to sleep. Surprisingly I slept for hours. When I woke up this time it was 9:00pm. My husband must have heard me moving about because he came in to tell me we have guests. He worries that I'll walk into the living room in my lingerie or something if he doesn't warn me about these things.

So I pull on jeans and a t-shirt and I go out to be the perfect hostess. We have a full house tonight - the whole bunch. All the friends I hate. Perfect. I said hello, made smalltalk for a little while, then escaped to the kitchen where I busied myself cooking their dinner.

When the food was ready to serve, I called out to him to lay the table and come help me carry it out. He came in, seemed surprised that I cooked so much, said sandwiches would have been fine, that they were really here for tea and sheesha. My stomach sank. Tea and sheesha means they'll be here forever. But I said it's ok, I needed to keep busy. I wanted to say I had a rough day and I needed him tonight but what could he do really? Guests are guests. It's the way we were both raised.

So I joined them for dinner. Then I excused myself. I knew they'd clean up, make their own tea and sheesha etc....A little while ago,I sent him SMS saying I was tired and wanted my good night kiss before I fell asleep. And he came into the bedroom, kissed me, thanked me for dinner and asked me to wait up for him. Do I have a choice really?I mean I slept like 4 hours earlier so it's not like am going to fall asleep anytime soon anyway.

So here I am. Waiting up.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Nora said...

Loulou,
I think your feeling of helplessness towards your brother's dilemma is what is making you sad, more than the fact that he is getting divorced. Sometimes, the best we can do to help someone who is going through a rough time, is just to let them know that we will be there when they need us, when they need to talk, when they need to share. Give him his space now. He will talk when he's ready, and he will ask for your help when he needs it. He probably chose to tell you about his problem, and not your parents, because he expected you to understand, and because he probably feels closer to you than he does to them.
Although divorce is a very traumatic experience, sometimes it is better than staying together. So, if this is your brother's final decision, then you will have to respect it, and help him get over the period of depression and low self esteem that will follow.
And please don't feel guilty for your happiness; some people are dealt a good hand early in life, some later in life. We all have our share of happiness and our share of sadness. Nobody's life is perfect, but we all deserve any little happiness that comes our way.
I hope you're feeling better by now. And I hope that your brother finds his peace and his serenity...and his happiness.
Sorry for the long comment!
Take care.....:)

11/15/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger SaRaH said...

Loulou, Ma3lish I know the kind of day you are talking about.. I am glad that it is over. Hoping things will work out and about your brother he will be fine eventually I know what you are going through cause my sis went through the same thing but it is difficult for you as you are in another country and can not be realy supportive as you would like to be.. Hang in there.

11/17/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger ArabLady said...

amazing blog but ur posts r veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy LONG :D but i enjoy them!!
its gonna a tough phase 4 him but hope it will pass peacefully

Cheeeeeeeerz

11/18/2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger ArabLady said...

its gonna be**

11/18/2006 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger tooners said...

I agree w/ you brother... I think just take a step back and let him handle it. I know it's hard to see ppl you love in such turmoil, but it's for the best that he handles it his way. I can understand not wanting family to know because sometimes it can feel overwhelming ... when you have so much in your hands... just a little more will become too much to handle. And I'm sure he has his plate full right now and I'm sure he's experiencing pain and heartache and needs time to deal w/ it. It takes two ppl to makes things so bad... but then again, sometimes ppl just aren't meant to be together, for whatever reason.

try not to get down about this. w/ time, all things will work out.. no matter what happens. i think it's really good tho that you haven't told your parents.

11/22/2006 02:40:00 PM  

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