"Sit down, we need to talk.", I said as I'm beating the egg in the bowl. On the kitchen counters around me are the ingredients for tonight's supper of Toad in the Hole which has become a favorite of his.
He sits down with a plop into the dining room chair in a room that is attached to the kitchen. A sullen look is on his face and his arms are crossed in front of his chest. I can see that he is defensive ready for an expected tongue lashing.
Not wanting to come out with an attack statement I take a minute to read the cook book for the next step, though I've made this recipe several times, I gather my thoughts.
Tick, tick, tick, the clock in the kitchen is reminding me that I'm going to lose his attention shortly if I don't come up with an opening that won't shut him down for listening.
I add the flour to the bowl and say, "I do understand what you are going through. Losing this job is losing an identity. I realize that you are going to feel out of sorts for a while."
He looks at me with anger. He doesn't want to be sitting there discussing this. He would rather it never happened but we have to deal with this now so that he knows I'll be beside him through it all. He says, "I don't know how you can understand when I can't understand it either. I feel empty. No wait, I feel anger. All I have left in me is hate. I still love you but I hate myself. It is my fault this happened." He is gesturing wildly through his words.
"How can you love me if you can't love yourself first? You will have to find your own reason to be happy through this and learn to love yourself again. I know you just said that you love me but your actions of late don't show that you do love me. You have been pushing my buttons and pissing me off. You want me to be angry so you are justified in the feeling that the world hates you. I'm going to try even harder to not let this happen. I've been down that slippery slope and its a long hard haul back up."
The dry ingredients are mixed at this point and I've added the egg to the well I made. Slowly I pour in the milk mixture and stir it into the dry ingredients. The oven is preheating.
"I don't like the fact that you always understand. I would rather you get upset when I can't come home for dinner or the weekend plans have suddenly changed. I don't want you to understand what I'm going through right now." He sits back in his chair and once again crosses his arms in front of his chest.
I put the casserole dish with the sausages into the oven to bake for 15 minutes while the batter is rising. "Well I'm sorry that I do understand. Why should I get upset over something that changes my plans when there is absolutely nothing I can do about keeping them? I would rather get upset over something I can control. You know, maybe you being so pale of skin you should get your vitamin D checked too. You've been depressive and in a lot of bodily pain of late. I know you didn't get much sun this summer either because you opted to stay inside most of the time I was on bed rest It wouldn't hurt to get the lab work done. If it is low maybe it will help improve your mood. If it isn't the problem then maybe you should find someone to talk to."
"I've talked to three shrinks and they say I'm just fine!" He gets up and walks off.
Staying in the kitchen I start some area clean up and setting of the table. The "talk" is finished and I shut off the light in the dining room area.
Side note: J is allowed to feel like he does right now. The Army has been the life he has always wanted. A place where he felt like he belonged. He wanted to be a career man. He wanted to be an officer. He wanted to lead. One by one his dreams have been taken away from him. Did he do it to himself? Was he just another warm body that soon became excess baggage to the Army in their draw-down? What I see is a man with broken dreams.