Dear Journal: The Non-Starter

remote_car_startersDear Journal,

Today started off with a bang because my car wouldn’t start no matter how hard I begged for it to turn over, sitting like a lump of coal in the garage. It meant I wasn’t going to get to work on time, and maybe not at all today, but it also meant I got a little extra time with my wife. So yeah, I went back to bed for another hour and we talked. It was that hazy time when we were half awake but also half asleep, and the conversation was all about “when it rains it pours.” We had no idea what the problem was with my car, but it seemed humongous, and big, and large, and all of those giant terms rolled into one. No, we’re not pessimists. We’re realists.

It got me thinking. We don’t prepare for these things, these surprises, but they come anyway, like it or not. And we deal with them because what else can we do? I mean, I sat in that car praying that it would start, and when it didn’t I felt defeated, like it was my fault. Then I came back inside, got out of my clothes, climbed into bed, and beat myself up about it. But I didn’t do it alone, and it made me think about why people get married. Sure, it’s for tax breaks, and for love, and for wanting to be together and everything, but it’s all about communication really. It’s all about when these non-starters happen and we get defeated, there’s someone there to listen when we despair over what it might be and how much it might cost.

It’s sad, though, that it takes something overwhelming like that to get us talking about money and about feeling devastated. But it’s also reassuring that she’s there for me when I need to unload like that, that she listens and offers advice and consolation. It’s that silver lining of real relationships, what makes me feel like I have a real partner, someone who knows and appreciates me and my issues.

It turned out that it was a dead battery, which was probably the easiest issue to fix, so my prayers were answered, and the car starts now like it used to, but I’m grateful for that extra hour with my wife. It reminded me of the old days when it was all new for us with each other, when we were exploring our thoughts, our triumphs, and our fears, and when we both believed in silver linings. And maybe we still do.

Sam

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