The Longest Last Winter Together (losing my head)

The Longest Last Winter Together

Depression is a bitch. The chill and stark emptiness of my marriage began to show itself to be deeper and more desperate as the sleet and frozen days continued well into March, the year that my mind broke. There was 9–11, there was the new baby, and the complete loss of my livelihood as local real estate companies paused all of their web marketing and advertising. I had a house, a new son, and bills that I had no chance of paying.

The doctor was advocating for patience. I was a harsh mistress to the pain and fear that arrived before coffee every morning. I was in an untenable position. My job was awful. My relationship with the mother of my son was growing ever more frosty.

Somehow, in all of the white icy moments, we continued with our plans for “one of each.” But before the thaw, our hopes were threatened by a rare blood disorder between the mom and the growing girl inside. She was not thriving. Radical interventions would need to take place if her oxygen levels did not improve.

Monday mornings we bundled up against the angry wind and extended Winter gray and looked through the sonogram’s microscope into her struggle. And after the sixth Monday morning with a yellow-but-positive result, I lost what positivism I had left in my inner voice. That morning, trying to understand what I was going to do for a living now that it appeared the world would survive, and I would need more money to support my growing crew.

The voice that had always provided positive inner counsel, “You’re going to be okay,” went silent. The words that replaced my optimism were like black snakes that I began to wrestle with before I actually said them. “You’re fucked,” was the new mantra. We were all stuck. My then-wife, my son, and the daughter just struggling to achieve escape velocity.

“The Winter will end,” I said to her as I was starting my new survival job at the Acura dealership across town. “The sun will come out again and the heat of the Summer will thaw us out of this. I’m not sure where the optimism came from, but as I buttoned up the white dress shirt and fished out some old colorful ties to fight for minimum wage in the air-conditioned nightmare of a car dealership in a down economy.

Read more Short-Short Stories from John.

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