…Sometimes it's like someone took a knife baby . Edgy and dull and cut a six-inch valley through the middle of my soul. At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of my head. Only you can cool my desire, I'm on fire… “I’m On Fire”- Bruce Springsteen
Recently I had a conversation with an old high school friend of mine. It’s really interesting when you look at someone whose life you think you wished you had---but then you talk to them about their life and you realize that but for certain circumstances, we all walk a similar path.
I am not married. Never been married. I have no children. I don’t own a home. I have always wished for marriage, children and home ownership. I feel sad and less than that I don’t have those things. That’s what we’re supposed to have right? Those are goals we’re supposed to strive for, right?
My girlfriend has been married for 16 years. I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. She has a gorgeous, handsome, successful husband. She is beautiful, brilliant, extremely sought after and successful in her field. They have a lovely home in the right suburb, nestled in the right school district. Of course they have children. Two. A boy and girl—naturally. Their kids are adorable, smart and talented. They have a dog and a cat. She drives a Range Rover and he drives a Mercedes. They go on fun and interesting vacations a few times a year. My friend is miserable. Hers is a life with no passion she says. For at least 10 of the 16 years she has been married she has been carrying on an affair–or affairs-interludes. She does not consider herself to be a person who has sexual addictions. She just feels as though there is something missing from her life. While we spoke she expressed her misery to me. She and her husband have plenty of money. He is not abusive or unkind. Yet, she is tragically sad and lonely.
I don’t know the stressors of marriage or child rearing. But I understand the loneliness and sadness even while in a relationship. I think I’ve shared this before, but I often feel like a caged animal. I am haunted by this overwhelming desire of wanting get up, get out and go. I, often, dream of running away as fast and as far as I can. Leave everything behind me and finally live the life that I have always wanted. Sounds good doesn’t it? Here’s the rub. I don’t know what I want or where to go or how to find it. I’m also a ‘fraidy cat. I am afraid of everything. I’m a toothless, clawless lioness. There is a certain level of fierceness, but all the armor is gone. What happens if I make a break for it? Worse yet what happens if I am successful? If I get out there, I’m done for. Perhaps it is better for me to stay in my cage and just look at through the bars with longing. Yeah, it’s better to stay in my cage where I know where everything is. Pathetic.
I’m not sure why this conversation has troubled me so. Listening to my friend I felt pity. A certain level of understanding and a frankly a smattering of judgment. I want what you have! What you are taking for granted! Babies. A husband. A pretty house. A decent salary. A car that doesn’t need all the work in the world. A job that I am good at and like. But I get it. You can’t help it when you are unhappy. It just happens. It settles in and envelops you like a warm blanket. After a while you forget what it was like to NOT have the blanket. It’s just becomes part of what you wear every fucking day.
I wonder what is going to happen to my friend. Will she get caught? What will happen if she does? What happens when she stops being hot, sexy and beautiful? She doesn’t seem to have any plans of fixing her marriage. Currently her plan is to fly across the country and visit her high school boyfriend, because she’s got something in store for him.