Recently, I spent some time thinking about the events in my life that led me to where I currently was. When I looked back to the times when I was worrying about college and my classes, I almost feel silly. If I didn’t get into one school, then I could have applied to another. If I didn’t like a class, then I would take another. If I didn’t do well, then I would try again. At that stage in my life there were so many opportunities to fix every little mistake, but I always made it seem like the sky would come crashing down at any moment. Now, things were different. Having the perspective of issues that were much more grand, I was beginning to learn how fragile life was, and how different my challenges were becoming as I was getting closer to graduating.
Which led me back home to talk about some of the big changes in my life.
“I’m sorry–what was that?” Mom squeaked.
I sipped my coffee slowly while Mom hovered over me. I was home for winter break and I finally spilled the beans to her about Sabin. It felt like the right time to do it since he was actually invited over the a classic Wells Christmas. The least I could do was give her some background. Well, more than I did when I first announced we were dating. Since things were a little vague between us, I never went into more details. Plus telling my mom that my boyfriend was much older than me and had PTSD wasn’t exactly a conversation that one has over the phone, or over text.
Especially over text!
Since I dropped that bombshell on her while we were in the middle of having a nice chat, I could understand why Mom was leaning against the counter with both her thumb and index finger around the bridge of her nose. It was a lot to take in. Not only was Sabin eleven years older than me, but he was also dealing with his past–a past that now I was learning about. Since telling me about his PTSD, I only heard bits and pieces of what happened, but honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever know the full story.
“PTSD?” She sighed. “Well that sure is a lot of information to take in at once.”
My fingers fiddled around with the ear of the mug. What could I say? I looked over at my puzzled mother and offered her the most sincere smile I could manage. By sincere, I meant a very crooked attempt at a smile. I knew it was a lot to handle. I was still struggling with being around Sabin whenever he had an episode, but I was still around and I had no intention of disappearing. I was not about to budge. Sabin was worth it.
I didn’t tell anyone yet, not even the man himself, but I was in love with him.
“I know it’s a lot to hear, Mom, but I just want you to know. I really care about him, and he’s a big part of my life now,” I admitted.
Mom nodded. There was that Wells approval. “I understand that, but this isn’t like some baggage from a previous family, or even helping someone recover from an injury. This is something that can also take a toll on you. PTSD is no joke.”
I knew that very well. Sometimes it would get so bad he wouldn’t want me near him. We were rarely intimate, and if we were, then we would have to be very careful. Apparently he was working on that in therapy, because he wanted to feel close to me without any triggers. It was our work in progress.
“Alma, are you listening?”
“I know it’s not a joke. I know it’s a lot to hear, but I just need you to know. So, please don’t ask about his service, because I don’t think he’s ready to talk about that just yet.”
“Okay, I get it.”
There was a silence between us–a growing tension that someone could cut with a knife.
“You’re not going to tell Dad, are you?” I asked softly without looking up from my drink. Seeing how Mom reacted, I wasn’t about to go through all that with Dad. He was like a bulldog when it came to that.
Mom laughed almost instantly as she grabbed her cookbook from the counter. As she walked towards me, she stopped and shook her head. “Honey, this is all you. It’s none of my business to tell him these things, but it would be good if he knew. You know how much he cares about you.”
With that, she stepped out of the kitchen and waltzed out into the living room.
Now I was left with the weight of time that was left before I would be forced to talk with my Dad. I had a relationship before and even some issues we talked about, but even then he got all riled up and wanted to “make things right”. Whatever that meant.
Luckily my was cup was still full, so I wasn’t about to race upstairs to tell Pops the great news. I was going to embrace every single sip of the magical drink if it meant that I had more time to mull over the speech I was writing in my head. However not all moments were meant to be dragged out like I wanted.
“Hey, kiddo. I didn’t hear you come in!”
Well, here goes nothing…