Flipside: Separate ways

By RUTHIE BLUM LEIBOWITZ
November 15, 2007 15:24
Flipside: Separate ways

1611-flip. (photo credit: )

 
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They are going their separate ways, he and she. It isn't fair, he thinks, wiping two drops of rain - or are they tears? - off the side of his nose. It isn't right. They were meant to be together. Everybody said so. Including her. Many times. Though not lately. He knew something was up. Or rather down. Like her mood. Why didn't she let on she was letting go? If she had, maybe he could have fixed it. He's good at repairing things. Leaky faucets. Wobbly table legs. The clasp on her watch. The one he bought her for her birthday and had engraved. As a testament to endurance. An heirloom in the making. One to be passed on through generations of the family he and she would start at some point. Not that she was ever able to commit to a wedding date. Which should have been a bad sign, he now realizes, with the help of hindsight. IT'S THE only course of action, she thinks, welcoming the belated drizzle as a sign of cleansing. Like her state of mind. Long overdue for an overhaul. It isn't fair to him, she thinks, watching his eyes grow moist. It isn't right. She should have told him sooner. Everybody said so. Including her therapist. Many times. Especially lately. It was time to break the news. Or rather her vow to love him forever. The thought of having to do it was taking its toll on her mood. Why couldn't she let on she was letting go? If she had, maybe she could have extricated herself earlier. She's good at screwing things up. Job interviews. Relationships. Accepting gifts she shouldn't. Like the engraved watch he gave her for her birthday. The one with the clasp that broke as a result of her opening and closing it too often. As a metaphor for her dilemma. A testament to the mental block preventing her from imagining the family he and she said they would start at some point. The reason she was never able to commit to a wedding date. Which should have been a bad sign, she now realizes, with the assistance of her analyst. THEY ARE going their separate ways, he and she. Yet the sky, however cloudy, has not fallen. In fact, the world is going about its business as though nothing more eventful than a change in the weather has occurred. A man grimaces as he flicks open his umbrella, then smiles as though he had come up with a patent for keeping dry. A couple of kids run to beat what threatens to become a downpour, while purposely stomping in every puddle on their way. Drivers honk and argue - where'd you get your license, jerk? - their radios keeping time with their windshield wipers; a concert that once would have been music to his ears. Or at least something to complain about with her whenever they went to the Sinai to chill out in the desert sun. Not that they've done that in recent years. Not since she said they should act responsibly and adhere to travel warnings and terror alerts. He, of course, complied - doesn't he always? - with her wishes. Though they were probably more her mother's than her own. And she does tend to take everything her parents say to heart. Too much, as far as he is concerned. Now that he thinks about it, her being a mamma's girl is the source of many of their fights. The bad ones, anyway. Those that never really get resolved. Rather, they peter out for lack of energy on either part to repeat what each has said - and neither has agreed upon - during previous rows. Comfort, he considers, comes in unconventional forms. Such as relief. No more tug-of-war on Shabbat, with her insisting they make a weekly pilgrimage to the place in Petah Tikva she still calls home even though she's been living with him in Jerusalem for the past three years. And with him protesting being pressured into spending his only day off making small-talk with his future in-laws - who can't stand the fact that he smokes. Some in-laws. Some future. H e should be celebrating right now, not mourning. Tomorrow he will be free. THEY ARE going their separate ways, he and she. Yet the sun, however desperate to push its way back from behind the clouds, is not shining. In fact, the world - her world - doesn't seem any brighter. As though nothing more eventful than a change of weather has occurred. A man grimaces as he flicks open his umbrella, then smiles as though he had come up with a patent for keeping dry. A couple of kids run to beat what threatens to become a downpour, while purposely stomping in every puddle on their way. Drivers honk and argue - where'd you get your license, jerk? - their radios keeping time with their windshield wipers; a concert that always made her wish she lived anywhere other than Israel. Or at least gave her something to complain about with him whenever they went to the Sinai to chill out in the desert sun. Not that they've done that in recent years. Not since she said they should act responsibly and adhere to travel warnings and terror alerts. He, of course, teased her - doesn't he always? - for being overly cautious. Though he never actually went against her wishes. But then, they were more her mother's than her own. And she does tend to take everything her parents say to heart. Too much, as far as her therapist is concerned. Now that she thinks about it, her being a mamma's girl is the source of much of her malaise. And most of their fights. The bad ones, anyway. Those that never really get resolved. Rather, they peter out for lack of energy on either part to repeat what each has said - and neither has agreed upon - during previous rows. Which is no wonder, she thinks, considering the fact that she never takes his side. Insists they make a weekly pilgrimage to the place in Petah Tikva she still calls home, even though she's been living with him in Jerusalem for the past three years. What kind of woman does that? What kind of man puts up with it? He does, she sighs, wistfully, missing him already. She should be celebrating right now, but instead she is mourning. Tomorrow she will be alone. ruthie@jpost.com

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