Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Cautiously hopeful

I spoke to Henry so long, and so loudly, Monday evening that I woke up hoarse. He called to, of course, complain about his husband, Reg. Complaining is really all he does these days. It's exhausting. For everything Henry complains about is unreasonable. In Henry's worldview, he's always the helpless victim and the only one suffering.

Case in point: He made Reg aware that there was birdshit on the car hood. There were three cars on the street, but only their car was "targeted." Reg replied that he had no explanation and went back to what he doing. ("Just playing on the computer," Henry said.)

Henry said that they don't have $600 to have the car repainted, so this is a problem. What did Reg plan to do about it? Reg grabbed a roll of paper towels and Windex, went out and started to wipe away the birdshit. Henry followed him to tell him he was doing it wrong, that he should be using soap and water. Reg threw the paper towels and Windex on the ground and stormed back into the house, warning Henry to leave him alone. Henry followed him there, too, asking Reg why he was so mad. Words were exchanged. Reg told Henry to leave him alone so he could "just take a fucking nap."

"For how long?"

"Forever!"

Then Henry segued into his problems receiving unemployment and his stimulus check from the State of Florida. I told him the stimulus check was from the Federal government and he should check the IRS website to see where it is. He was dismissive. He doesn't know where Reg keeps their tax "stuff."

"Listen to yourself!" I said, disgusted. "You're an adult! Why don't you act like an adult?"

"What do you mean? I am responsible. I take my pills on time. I walk the dogs."

"Why didn't you clean the birdshit off the car? Why don't you check on your own stimulus check?"

I explained to him that he has no empathy for anyone in his life, that he seems to think we're all public utilities like water, expected to be there when he turns on the faucet. I pointed out that maybe, just maybe, Reg was doing something on the computer that was important to him, that gave him joy ...  Henry interrupted to complain some more and I snapped.

"How am I?" I shouted. "Am I scared of the corona virus? Are my friends and loved ones OK? You don't know because you never ask me about me. All you want to do is bitch about your own life."

"But I try! No one understands me. I try every way I can think of."

"No, you haven't tried every way you can think of. Have you called Dr. Rivera?" She's the mental health professional he saw a year ago as part of couples counseling with Reg. He likes her. His insurance would cover sessions with her.

"Reg would have to drive me. It will make him mad."

"Reg would be proud of you for taking the reins! He would not be mad at all."

Round and round and round we went. Finally he promised to call Dr. Rivera.

"You promised to call Dr. Rivera back in February," I said, sad because I was putting those sweaters away for the season and he still hadn't called.

I told Henry I know how lonely and misunderstood he must feel. I told him his unhappiness hurts my heart. But it's on him to do something to fix it. I reiterated that I love him. I always end each call by telling him I love him.

"I promise I will call Dr. Rivera tomorrow."

Exhausted, I wished him a good night.

Tuesday afternoon I received a pair of texts that made my heart sing.

First,

Left a detailed message for Dr. Rivera. She has not called back. But I kept my promise. 

Then,

I called my state legislator. Her assistant will help get my unemployment $. I am emotional, but I can do stuff. 

Yes, Sweetie, you can! I know you can!

I just hope you will.

 

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