A Promise and a Contract

I ended up telling him about the contents of A Sweater Worn Too Thin.  (If you still need the password, please leave me a note and I’ll email it to you.  Beware, it has some serious triggers in it.)

It was at the very last moment of our night.  I said to him, “Wait, before you put on Netflix, can I tell you something?”

Him:  “What?”

“Before I tell you, you have to promise not to be angry with me.”

Him:  “Well, it depends on what you did.”

“I can’t tell you without you making this promise.  Please, promise not to be angry.”

Him:  “Like I said, it depends on what you did.  Did you sleep with someone else?”

“God no!!!  I . . . “

Him:  “Hurt yourself?”

“Yeah,” I sighed with my head down.

Him:  “I thought so.  What did you cut yourself with?”

“A razor.  Don’t worry about it, I disposed of it, and I don’t ever want to do this again.  How did you know?”

Him:  “There was blood in the bathroom, and you didn’t sleep the night before.  And the next day, you weren’t all there.”

“I don’t ever, ever want to do this again.  It’s pretty bad.”

Him:  “Is it infected?  Let me see.”

I was stunned.  He had never really wanted to see an injury before.  Not even out of concern, curiosity, nothing.  Occasionally, he flat out refused to purchase bandages and things of the like, because he had wanted me to suffer the shame of it.  I stood up slowly and said to him, “Don’t laugh.”

Him:  “Why?”

I pulled down the band of my pants and underwear to reveal a rigged up maxi pad.  He snickered a little, and I did too.  It’s so like us to be able to find the humor in a very dark situation.  I pulled it back, and he inspected it.

“I’ve been taking care of it, washing it out several times a day with antibacterial soap, putting neosporin on it, and covering it back up again.”

Him:  “No, I don’t think it’s infected,” he remarked, “We’ll have my mom (a nurse) take a look when we go up there tomorrow.”

My eyes grew wide, “We can’t show her that!  There has to be at least 20 lacerations there!”

Him:  “I know, I can see them.  We’re going to have to.  She has all of the first aid supplies we need to patch you up properly,” he insisted.

And for a moment, I felt safe again.  I did this to myself, and he was using terms like “we”.  We’re in this together.  But, then, ruined by a pang of shame.  Then, the fear hit me.

“I’m really ashamed.  And I’m really scared.  Are you going to stop talking to me?”

Him:  “No, I’m not going to stop talking to you.”

“I know that you have to be hurt and angry and frustrated.  I didn’t do this because of you.  I did this because I was so overwhelmed about everything that was going on, and all of those stupid voices in my head that I’ve been telling you about.  Please, don’t be angry with me.  I need you.”

Him:  “I know.  I’m not angry.  I’m not anything, but just overwhelmed too.  I’m being pulled in so many different directions that I don’t even know what to feel.  Everything is changing all at once.”

“Change isn’t bad.  I think it’s an opportunity to get a fresh start.”

Him:  “Yeah.  Can we turn on a show and go to bed?”

“I’d like that.  Can I ask you for something, really quick?”

Him:  “What?”

“Can we keep having these brief talks?  Brief, I mean, no more than fifteen minutes, a half an hour if it’s something really serious.  I mean, I want to be able to put it in as terms in my self-injury contract.”

Him:  “Yes.  We’ll work on it.  Let’s go to bed.”

We did.  I must have been moving too much, and I was in a very light sleep.  He asked, “What’s wrong?”

I answered, “I’m cold.”

“Come here.”

We both moved into the middle of the bed, and he draped his blanket over me.  In that moment, I was the little spoon, and he was my big spoon.  It had been the first time we slept together like that since before my pregnancy.  And there was no better feeling in the world.  Our first steps back toward each other.