We’ve been a one car family for all but a couple of our twenty-five years together. That’s because Jack retired the year we got married. Well, okay, that’s not quite true. He hung his boss out a third story window and was asked to accept that his job had exacerbated his PTSD, take his disability payments and stay home.
Of course that same year he was so close to suicide every morning I woke with him still beside me in the bed was a victory. But he truly did hang the boss out the window and that makes a better story, don’t you think? It’s something many of us fantasize about doing at least once in our working lives. Me? I got even with my bosses by writing a book and putting the bastards in it. That novel, The Perfect Victim, is with the publisher. I’ll let you know when it comes out so you can see the fate of those that harass and piss off a writer.
So. Back to that new car of Jack’s.
The publication of My Life with a Wounded Warrior helped to heal some wicked wounds in my marriage. It turns out, much to my surprise, that the truth truly does set us free. Or, at least, it did in this case. See, I wrote My Life with a Wounded Warrior when I thought the marriage was in its death throes. There was nothing to lose by telling the stark, honest-to-God truth.
But a funny thing happened in the telling. The writing burned through the anger. The truth scorched a narrow trail across resentment, revealed the truth. And the truth is that I love my husband and he still has things to teach me about life. The truth is that my telling and his reading those essays helped us figure out how to make the adjustments needed to enjoy each others company again.
So, what on earth does any of this have to do with Jack’s new car?
Funny you should ask.
If you’ve read the book, you know that a year or so ago Jack went behind my back and bought a red Lexus that very nearly bankrupted us and released the hounds of anger within the marriage. Just looking at that vehicle made me sick to my stomach. I was enraged all over again each time I rode in the damned thing. We came close to divorce. We both passed way beyond anger and into resentment and rage.
So last week when he called his friends to tell them about his new car, his end of the conversation went like this:
“I got myself a 2006 Audi convertible!”
“Yes, yes, Pam knows. She approved the purchase. ”
A second pause.
“Yeah, yeah. Pam knows. We talked about it before I bought it and she’s fine with it.”
All of his friends, you see, have read the book and none of them want him sleeping on their couch.
There are major differences between his purchase of the Lexus and that of the Audi. For one thing the Lexus was about three times the cost of this Audi. The price helped me to be more comfortable with this purchase. But the main difference is that this car was bought in honesty with open communication between us.
Tomorrow is predicted to be about six degrees here in Arkansas. My plan is to put on my Elmer Fudd hat and heavy coat. Jack will put the top down on the Audi, crank the heater up to bake and the seat warmers up high enough to bake a pizza. We’re going for a ride.
We’ve earned it.
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