Sunday, August 17, 2008

In the Belly of the Beast

They are sitting as far apart on the tan, expensive, overstuffed leather couch, with pillows at either end, as far as you can get from each other. They are unmatched bookends with a thousand volumes between them. Jake is slouching, resting his right elbow on the sofa arm, head down in hand while his left hand awkwardly brushes nothing off the log of his jeans. Jake is very handsome in a styled scruffy way. He has longish brown curly hair, shoulder length, blue denim work shirt and jeans with a hole in the left knee.

Amy sits at the opposite end of the couch stiff and upright, nestled against the other arm of the sofa as if being any closer to Jake would send her to the bottom of some horrendous abyss. She fold her arms across her chest like a defiant child, and looks straight ahead at nothing. The silence is thunderous. Tension so thick, it seems any sound would break the sound barrier, like a soprano hitting the highest note possible, shattering crystal into shards of glass.

Amy is gorgeous. Short hair, perfectly coiffed, it fits her tight angular angry face. She is wearing a Giorgio Armani pin striped suit and a simple string of pearls around her neck. Professional, tailored and very much in vogue in the corporate world.

Their careers are as opposite as their marriage and dress code appear to be.

Jake is a carpenter, cabinet maker artisan and musician. His passion is his music. He loves to craft with his hands and write his own music. Amy is a high ranking executive in a business conglomerate, a world which hires and fires people as swiftly as you spit out sour milk from it's container.

The world of opposites which once drew them wildly and passionately together, now threatens to rip that world into shreds.
They have been married for 12 years.

They are at opposite end of the spectrum. Amy is pregnant and does not want the child. Jake wants the child. They are here, in this psychiatrist's office to decide whether or not to go ahead with the birth. They already have a 10 year old boy. This is enough for Amy, but not Jake.

The bickering between Jake and Amy begin immediately and nothing is sacred. Jake accuses Amy of having an affair with her boss, which Amy denies, then accuses Jake for being overbearing, jealous and obsessed because of his lack of "performance" in bed. Words fly against each other like bullets.

The psychiatrist sits across from the both of them in his own comfortable chair. There is a square black coffee table separating the unhappy couple and the shrink, a physical reminder that there are boundaries.

The psychiatrist is here to allow them to speak about their feelings. The shrink is a moderator, a referee of sorts. The married couple is here to make the decision together- whether to abort this baby or not..

The couple spits venom at each other, but I immediately take Jake's side. He is likable, still in love with Amy, loves his son and seems to take the brunt of the relationship gone wrong. He wants to continue family life and make it work.

I do not like Amy. Not exactly the motherly type. She is callous, cold and too self absorbed. She is more interested in her career than her family.

Their weakest and most embarrassing qualities are thrown at each other like arrows, like the way Amy feeds her son to Jake's accusation of Amy having an affair with her boss, to indifference to sex with Jake. Everything once right is now wrong. Raw, dirty and unfair accusations bounce back and forth looking for a place to lay blame. The only interruption is Jake or Amy asking the shrink to side with them on a particular issue. The shrink is good. Obviously not his first couple in crisis, he hands out no answers, just throws back the questions.

The shrink brings them back time and time again to the issue at hand. True, this couple has many issues, but the decision they came to make has very little time to be resolved. If an abortion is to happen, time is a factor.

For the next couple of weeks, the sessions play out in much the same way. More accusations, more blame, more hurt.

The third week Amy opens the session by admitting that in the past week, she has slept with her boss.

Jake is crushed. You feel his pain, his tears and betrayal. Jake is angry but pleads with Amy that he will do anything to save this family, this marriage, this home. He loves her no matter what. He wants this baby more than ever.

Suddenly Amy loses it. She begins to scream at Jake for "not fucking getting it at all".

"You just don't get it do you Jake? I don't want this baby! I don't want to be a mother. I'm not even a good mother to our son.
I want my life as it is. I want my career, my freedom, my job. I want to work and travel and not be tied down by a fucking baby. I am telling you right now Jake, I WILL NOT LOVE THIS CHILD!! I will hate this child and this child will mean nothing to me. Do you want to bring child into this world knowing that the mother doesn't want it? I am too selfish and don't give a GOD DAMN about this baby. You will have to raise it and give this baby what it needs, but believe me Jake, it will always know that it's mother did not want it. It sickens to me think about bringing up another child into this fucked up world and this fucked up relationship. I cannot do that to a child. The child needs it's mother and I will not be there, now or ever."

Amy then storms out the door. Both Jake and the shrink sit there is silence. Finally Jake leaves, turns to the shrink and says,
"Thanks a lot, I came here so you could help us decide whether or not to have this child, now you have ended our marriage."

After a few minutes the shrink gets up to close the door and rearrange the pillows on the couch.

While arranging the pilllows, something catches his eye on the couch. He leans over to look. In the area where Amy was sitting is a puddle of blood.

The decision was made for everyone.

From “In Treatment”, the HBO series based on the Israeli Series "Be 'Tipul"

I sit back from the TV in amazement. Suddenly I like Amy. A lot. She may be self absorbed, but she is honest, brutal but honest.

I visualize an almost abstract picture of my mother- pregnant with me and what disgust she must have felt. I would be a bastard child that she never wanted. She never married my father, just fucked him one night in the back of the White Tower Restaurant. I was a mistake, a mistake she never let me forget. I am the mistake. What did she say when people noticed she was pregnant? Did she smile? I doubt it. Who did she blame. Did she pound her stomach with her fists and wish the child inside her would die? Nothing but backdoor abortions in the 1940's, otherwise I wouldn't be here.
Was she disgusted with herself? As I grew older and put more weight on, was I a mirror image in which she hated the both of us even more? She had a weight issue also. She hated men and I was afraid of them.
Unlike this TV series, she had no options, probably had no one to talk to either. But we both survived.

It is clear to me now, my mother was on her own journey and responsible for what she made or didn't make of it.

I am on my own journey, so very different from hers. I am responsible for my choices.

The way I see it, our paths crossed once, and only once.

Maybe that's all we needed from each other.


Blogger Maddy said...

I've been watching that series too but I'm a zillion episodes behind. It takes a little time to get used to the style but after that it's mesmerizing.

I won't say anything about your mother, but I'm very glad you're here and that your journey is continuing to flourish.
Best wishes

5:14 PM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

SWEET JESUS!!! First this: "They are unmatched bookends with a thousand volumes between them," then that ending! You with your endings, Suz, key-rist! You and your mother were like those bookends, except her story is over and yours is just getting good.

7:24 PM  
Blogger s@bd said...

thank god she didn't have the option to abort you - wonderful, wonderful YOU

8:42 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

I did this once to another blogger who has since become what I consider a real life friend.

I gotta go sit on this post and come back in a day. It is so fucking heavy.

11:48 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

Yeah. See? I am back.

I have heard so much about that series. How powerful and real it is.

Now, as to you and your mother. The first thing that popped into my head was yeah, your paths crossed once and only once but it was a damned long path.

I sit back in a little bit of wonder as to how you can be so.......forgiving. Accepting.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

Unbelievably powerful writing, Suzy, as always. I wondered at first if you weren't talking about your own mom and dad - even knowing a bit of the story. I love how at peace you seem to be becoming about your relationship with your mom. I'm so grateful that you're here, and if that's all your relationship with her produced, it's enough. Does this mean that you're beginning to know, really know, that the way you were parented wasn't about you? Much love, dear one!

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To hear this from a daughter's point of view has to be the most heart breaking thing a mother will ever hear in her life. I say, will.

CJ xx

3:15 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

I'm sorry to repeat Carrie, but it has to be done. This is BRILLIANCE: "They are unmatched bookends with a thousand volumes between them."

So is this:"The silence is thunderous. Tension so thick, it seems any sound would break the sound barrier, like a soprano hitting the highest note possible, shattering crystal into shards of glass."

What incredible insight into this scene, looking at it from your perspective. Another powerful post Suzy!!

Kim, one of the many, many people who are so grateful that you are on this journey and sharing it with us

8:14 PM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

So powerful Suzy.

Not just this piece (though it is) but you.

A very powerful resilient soul.


9:45 PM  
Blogger La La said...

I agree. Your writing is very powerful! I wish I had HBO. I have Showtime but not HBO. I'll have to see how to rectify that. Having been in therapy for more than 15 years, I'd like to see how it plays out on the screen.

And, I realize I don't know you, but I am so glad you are here telling your story. It is helping me with mine!

12:07 AM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Maybe you could say that your paths crossed once and only once, but in that crossing she ran over you, backed up and ran over you again and again and again. Still, you got up and moved forward.

I don't believe in "mistakes" and you were certainly not one. God wanted you here. I'm just sorry that your mother didn't know that and all of her horrible choices caused you such hurt.

You have make hard and brave choices in your journey and have helped so many people along the way. You may not have been in your mothter's plan, but there is a greater plan than hers and you are an important part of it.

Love you Suz.
Great writing as always.

9:00 AM  
Blogger menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Your writing should be mandatory study for anyone needing to unerstand abuse, recovery and forgiveness. I am consistently moved by the depth of your writing and the emotions you evoke in me from anger to joy that you survived such cruelty in your life.

Amazing, just amazing.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Osh said...

*blinks tears*

your writing is so, (excuse me) fucking powerful.

thank you.

8:52 PM  
Blogger Carnal Zen said...

My father (the therapist)believes that we choose our parents. We choose them based on the lessons and skills we most need to learn, especially the difficult ones (he usually says this when I complain about my mother). As always - your post was impeccably written and yet I am blown away by the power of your evolution Suzy!

6:54 PM  
Blogger Maggie May said...

Thank Goodness you are here Suzy & your writing is powerful and gut wrenching and so well written. Had me sitting on the edge of my seat!

12:01 PM  
Blogger Douglas W said...

You have done it again Suzy... you have inspired those follow your story.

And you inspired me to write something on my own pages...

Life's journey contains many encounters with other people. Many experiences. Sometimes we might wish that the encounters never took place and the experiences never experienced. Other times we marvel at the joy and beauty that the people and experiences have brought to our lives.

Somehow we find a balance between these things, just as light and dark balance each other to create a perfect day, as the complimentary curves of ying and yang form a perfect circle.

6:30 PM  
Blogger Terry Whitaker said...

I draw strength from you...real strength.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Paul Maurice Martin said...

I remember reading in a psych class that the "opposites attract" idea is over rated. Apparently similarities in interests and personality generally make for better relationships.

12:02 PM  
Blogger kario said...

No accidents. You're right about the fact that your path and your mother's needed to cross. Nobody may ever really understand all the reasons why, but the fact that you've been able to see it this way is a shining example of the strong, courageous person you are.

Wherever your mother is, she would be damn proud of you. You've shown 'em all.

Love you, Suze!

10:00 PM  
Blogger Mid-lifer said...

Fab writing again and again Suzy. So evocative, insightful and brilliant.

That series sounds fascinating, wonder if it will come over here to blighty?

Thanks for wondering how I'm doing. In a bout of appalling procrastination at the moment, but your blogs are always inspiring.


12:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home