No Place to Vent

November 07, 2005

The aspect of my relationship with Michele that is going to be the hardest to live without is the lack of a safe place to vent. We all have moments where the frustrations of the day overwhelm us and we want to lash out inappropriately in order to vent. Who among us hasn't skewered a fast-food counter clerk, or yelled at other drivers on the road, in an effort to get rid of the build up of anger, frustration, and helplessness? We all have.

Michele and I had some thing we called 20 Minutes. When ever either of us was upset and needed to vent we could start a conversation by saying, "I need 20 minutes." The listener knew that what followed was just the heat of the anger, frustration, or helplessness being boiled off. The real issue was buried by these hotter surface emotions and could only be dealt with once it was cleared. The listener also knew not to take anything said in this opening movement seriously. 20 minutes is just the irrational emotion talking, once it was exhausted, the real emotion could take over and truth would come out. (By the way, 20 minutes isn't a literal time limit; some times it only takes 2 or 3 to unearth the truth, others may take far longer.)

I miss having her as a safe place to fall. The world is suddenly scary (scarier) again. I don't have the luxury of calling her on the phone and saying, "Help me deal with this, I need 20 minutes." Even without the need for venting the days frustrations I miss being able to connect with her and share what ever was on my mind. I especially miss her calling me. She always laughed at how my voice would change from the professional, flat work-Mark, to the relaxed, loving husband she knew when I would hear her voice on my work phone.

I "wrote" to her yesterday on her site and that helped. I used to write to her every day, some times about nothing more important than what to have for dinner, other times to explain my theories about the existential nature of being. Being with her allowed me to flex my mental and emotional muscles; I grew emotionally and spiritually. The growth will continue, but the path is dim and shadowed now without the light of her sun to show me the way.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.