When My Partner Didn't Notice I'd Pulled Away

They say it isn't often the big things that erode a relationship, but the small everyday disconnections that add up over time. I am trying to turn toward rather than away when I get my feelings hurt, here a play by play :)

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When My Partner Didn't Notice I’d Pulled Away


The particulars don’t really matter,
it was some small slight, but lobbed
the night before I started my period.
We were eating hamburgers,
I’d ordered mine medium
and it arrived rare.

Rather than confront my love or ask for connection,
I turned, thirty degrees away,
orienting myself back toward my plate,
watched the bun soaking the meat’s blood
took great care to arrange each bite,
lettuce, tomato, bacon perfectly aligned
all the while feeling the great distance,
a Golden Gate Bridge’s worth,
I was in Sausalito and him in San Francisco.
I thought he felt it too,
our spaceship door had opened
and I’d been sucked out.

He commented on my breasts,
how nice they looked with my new bra.
I prayed, may we have mercy
and pivoted slightly toward him,
it took pick axes and I chopped at the ice
while small talk scaffolded me back,
thanks, I bought it on sale, how was work...

The next morning while showering I asked him,
Did you notice I got distant during dinner?
No, he said handing me my towel.
There was crimson when I dried between my legs.
I was both appalled and amazed at his answer,
so attuned I am to his every emotion.
constantly monitoring his joy, desire,
irritation, ambivalence, anger.
I am a thermostat. Forever Adjusting.
He’s pissed, I am a cool breeze soothing,
Oh he’s worried, I offer warmth.

How could he not know between ordering
and our food arriving
I’d checked out the waiter,
fantasized about trolling Facebook
for the man I met at a poetry workshop,
then determined any male too dangerous.
I’d cleaned out his side of the closet,
escaped to the nunnery,
at the Chapel of St. Mary, taken my vows.

I reflected on his white flag, a compliment.
So grateful that somewhere deeper than
consciousness, he did notice.
I reflected on my fledgling skill of forgiveness,
so grateful.