I contemplated running away today. The truth is, it wasn’t even the first time I’ve done so since this whole ordeal began a handful of months ago. But don’t misunderstand. I hadn’t devised some sort of game plan, I didn’t have a specific destination in mind, and there was no bag packed and waiting by the door. I simply let my mind wander to a far-off place.
You see, the other day, a friend was asking about my wife’s unfolding medical condition, so I found myself going over the exhaustive litany of doctors and diagnoses, schedules of upcoming tests and procedures, and the looming eventuality of additional treatments and surgeries. She asked how we were keeping it all straight and not crumbling under the pressure, then she commented on our apparent ability to weather life’s storms while always seeming so “together.” That was the word she used: together. Somehow, she said it all without even a hint of detectable irony, while I stood there feeling like a completely exposed and unraveled mess. My friend, to be sure, was offering nothing but a sincere kindness. And yet, all I could think was… yeah, but I’ve thought about running away.
I won’t, of course. We’re both in this for the long haul, whatever form “this” may take, and so even when it gets difficult, it’s still part of our sacred, shared history. It’s our for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness, health. This — today, tomorrow, right now — is the continuation of our story.
So, sure, I daydreamed about being alone in a far away location, kept company only by a beautiful sunset and a distinct lack of worry. But then, I reached out to a friend and asked for help, this new thing I’m trying on for size. I ate an entire pan of brownies, drank a glass (maybe it was two) of some cheap wine that I don’t even like, and watched a couple hours of mind-numbing YouTube videos when I desperately should have been sleeping. Tomorrow, we face another day full of some unexpected combination of challenge and humor and heartbreak and hope. And we’ll face it together.
Because the story of a love is not always a Hallmark movie with beautiful cinematography and an uplifting soundtrack. Sometimes a love story looks a little more like this.