I am Jack’s Guarded Heart

Another rough sleep last night. I don’t sleep well in general but I haven’t helped the problem by drinking and staying up too late anytime I’m in a social situation. I never liked to not get home until after Carol had gone to sleep but last night, a Monday night, I was out late.

I feel so numb lately. “Desensitized” is a word Steve used. I didn’t want my evening with my friend Steve to end because he’s moving. He’s been an amazing listener and so wise. He’s reminded me of what a good, caring person I am (though I don’t feel like it lately). No one compares when it comes to how he’s been able talk and listen without judgement and give unique insights. We’ve only recently reconnected and it’s going to be hard without him around.

I came home and Carol woke up a bit when I entered the bedroom. I gave her a kiss and said, “I’m home. I’m safe. I love you.”

“I love you too,” she whispered and fell back to sleep. Throughout the night, every time I woke up, I made sure to put my arm around her before dozing off again.

Steve asked me what’s special about Carol? I told him it’s our amazing dynamic. When we’re together, we have this flow, this rhythm. It’s such a unique and beautiful connection, like we have our own language. I struggled to describe it and still do.

He asked why I wanted to make it work. I think it may just be a combination of everything: our shared experiences, our friendship, our kids, our family. Honestly, I don’t think I’d consider trying if it weren’t for the kids. If it weren’t for them, I could’ve stayed out of contact with her and moved on. Because of them, I had no choice but to continue interacting with her and working on forming a new relationship.

I had to strip all that away though when deciding to give our marriage another chance. It couldn’t be for the sake of the kids. It couldn’t be loneliness. It couldn’t be because we have too much history. When I took that away, it was a forgotten friendship underneath that we missed so much. We built this family on a strong foundation and now we can rebuild it all.

It’s hard to write out these confused, contradictory feelings without wanting to go back and correct them and give them some structure. The truth is, that’s how I feel about this all: contradictory and unstructured.

I want to be with Carol because of all that we have and at the same time I don’t want to be with her just because of all that we share together. That’s just the way it is in my head. Then there’s my desire to make it work while at the same time, not being concerned enough with making it work.

I care, I don’t care, I want, I don’t want, I need, I don’t need.

When all your certainty, trust and future hopes get smashed, does that ever come back? Am I just going to hold all I care for at arm’s length and not dare to think about the future anymore?

I used to kiss her and tell her I loved her because I needed her to know how much I adored her. Now I do it to comfort her and to try to feel connected. To feel a little spark in this guarded heart.

There’s still a heart that can love in this body, I think. Maybe Jack’s heart is just hiding at the moment.

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