Looking back I realize that one of John’s preferred places to have an argument was the car. I have found myself wondering if he somehow enjoyed the idea that I was trapped in a small space with him and I couldn’t get away. I tried not to spark too many conversations when we were on long drives, but no fail I would always say something to trigger him.
Because of the frequency of these arguments it’s hard for me to remember what caused all of them, though a few stick out in my mind and I will write about those over time. What I do remember … and what breaks my heart…. is the memory of my son’s reactions to these arguments.
I vividly remember driving to meet my family at a popular restaurant in Connecticut. I can’t remember what the occasion was… but I remember my entire family was going to be there. My son was young enough that he was still rear facing in the back of the car. John was driving and somewhere along the way, we got lost.
I don’t remember what I said to make him angry. I don’t remember the specifics of what he said to me once he lost his temper. What I do remember is my young son… young enough that he was still nursing…. plugged his ears with his fingers and started loudly screaming, “LA!LA!LA!LA!” because he didn’t want to hear the yelling that was taking place in the car. I remember begging, “Please stop. Please. James is listening. Please. I get to matter too. Please.”
The yelling continued despite my pleas for the remainder of the drive. Once we arrived at the restaurant he hugged my family as if nothing had happened. He put his arm around me and acted completely normal. How can he just reset like that? How can he act like nothing happened? I was still shaking. My eyes were still swollen with tears. How can no one notice? They hugged him. They loved him. They had accepted him as family. So I went about making myself busy with my son and tried to act like nothing had happened as well.