Saturday, September 13, 2014

Short Story: The Shallow End

Today on the train, I couldn’t help listening in to this woman’s phone conservation. She seemed so tired and lost, I felt bad for eavesdropping but I was intrigued….
“How I am doing today? Let’s see. I feel like I’m in a room full of people and no one can hear me. I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place. I feel that all my hard work is for nothing. I feel as if I’m drowning…”
“Oh, enough with the analogies. Ok, a simple sentence: I feel unappreciated. I feel pulled in different directions with no relief. I feel that all I do is give and I get nothing in return….”
“Home? The same. Get up, take care of my daughters, clean house, and shower, maybe read if I can get past a page or two and basically wait until my husband gets home where I cook dinner, clean up afterward. I’m expected to wait on him hand and foot because he quote ‘had a hard day.’ Do you know that I often dread when he has more than two days off? Yeah, I do. Because by the end of the second day, I wish that his boss would call him in just to get him out of my hair…” 
“He’s no help. I have to beg and make deals with him just to get him to give the kids a bath….”
“I have tried talking to him but he doesn’t understand and I don’t know how to help him understand. I know that he’s exhausted after working all week and he wants to rest but he doesn’t get that I don’t get a day off. I’m always on duty. Do you know how many times I have to get out of bed because they are calling for me or they’ve gotten out of bed and play with the toys? Some nights, too many to count. And when I do finally get to sleep, I get woken up by him, saying it’s time to get up. I look at the clock and I realize that I’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep. People will joke and say ‘that’s being a mom.’ Even when he is home, I’m expected to do everything. If my daughters get into something, I’ll get an attitude as if to say, ‘why weren’t you watching her?’ As if I’m the only one who is responsible for them. And if something happens, like they get sick and I’ll tell him what we need to do but he’ll ignore me and call one of his older sisters as if I don’t know what I’m talking about. You know what? About 99.9% of the time, they’ll tell him the exact thing I did…”
“I do love him. He’s usually very sweet and considerate. We get along very well. It’s just some days, he’ll come home with an attitude as if he is ‘Mr. Know-it-all’ and I don’t know what I’m talking about or I’ve been misinformed. That’s usually when I know he’s been talking to his older brother. My brother-in-law is the jack of all knowledge but a master of nothing. But he sure acts as if he has a Ph.D. in very topic under the sun…”
“No, I don’t expect perfection. I expect consideration that my opinions and comments are worth listening to and not dismissed because it contradicts what he’s been told by someone else…”
“My friends? Ha, that’s a joke. My friends don’t want to hear my problems because it would take away from their complaining. And when I do try to talk, I get a short ‘oh, that sucks. So my husband did….”
“I feel so isolated from everything and I know that life is happening outside our door. I can’t seem to enjoy it either it be money or fear or uncertainty. To sum up. You asked me how I’m feeling. Have you ever been in the pool where the deep end slopes up to the shallow end and you use your toes to keep your head above water until you can get your full footing? Well, that’s how I feel. I feel as if I’m forever in the shallow end trying to stay above water. Some days I do but most days I don’t. How do I stop from drowning in the shallow end?”
As I got up from my seat and passed her, I pressed a note in her hand that I had written. She looked at me in shocked but I just nodded and smiled and got off the train. I hoped she would find my words encouraging. I hoped she would realize that she’s not alone in her struggles. I simply wrote:
“Even diamonds have to go under a lot of pressure
before they emerge beautiful and priceless.
You are a diamond still under pressure.

Your time to shine is coming. ”