Site Meter Elsie's Space: Hitting a Nerve
Location: New England, United States

Not much to tell.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hitting a Nerve

My newest (4 years) and youngest (32 years) friend and I were enjoying a cup of coffee and some girl talk. The subject was, of course, men. She knew I'd been divorced once, but on this day she asked me about it. Trying to not sound too bitter, I told her the shortened version of what happened between ex and me and how afraid of him I had been. I wrapped it up with, "One day I realized that whenever I came home and saw his car in the driveway, I thought 'oh, shit.' I knew that I couldn't live like that any longer. And that was that." The look on her face told me everything I needed to know, and she switched to a safe subject, our children.

Had I been thinking clearly about the things that I had witnessed between her and her husband, I might have considered putting it a different way. Sitting here tonight and looking back, I realize that she behaves the same way I did when married to ex -- panics when she's five minutes late getting home, worries that anything she does will make him angry, is far more calm when he is not around -- the list goes on. It seemed to be the words about seeing his car in the drive and all the anxiety it caused that hit a nerve. She didn't have to say anything; her face said it all.

So here I am wondering what to do about it. I'm not even sure if it's any of my business. I let the moment slip by without saying or asking anything. Is that what friends are supposed to do? Should I bring the subject back up or just let it go? It is her life and her marriage. What didn't work for me could work just fine for someone else, I guess. But that look. I can't get it out of my mind.

For now I will pray for a whole, wonderful life for her. And I will be thankful for the second chance I've been given with my sweet, happy, supportive husband. I wonder if that's all I can do.


Anonymous Winston said...

You did the right thing by answering her truthfully. A casual follow-up sometime, just an offer to listen should she want it, would be appropriate. It is really not you business, except to the extent that she made it your business by opening the conversation in the first place.

7:46 AM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Thanks, Winston.

8:57 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

That's a hard one. I've often done that: realised afterwards that I missed what might - or might not -have been a hint to ask more. But then again, I don't know. Husband always says to me, 'Well, didn't you ask?' And I say, 'no, I figured she'd tell me if she wanted me to know more.' And maybe that's the case here. It sounds like what you said was helpful enough for her. And I know - and she'll know - that she'll be able to turn to you if she needs support.

10:56 AM  
Blogger MaryB said...

Well, I'm always putting my foot in it (usually my big mouth) and had an experience like yours several years ago. My assumption is that everyone's ticking along just fine, and I'm constantly surprised to find otherwise. Who knew?

I think you've opened a door (as I did with my friend), and if your friend needs to walk through, she will.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Liz and Mary, good to know I'm not the only one. Thanks.

6:20 AM  

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