This story is a part of The Black Snob’s two-week series, “Doomed Romance,” tales of love lost and love gone wrong. For more click here. The following is from my journal about the period of time before I married my ex-husband, “Henry.” It amazes me how I have all the evidence in the world that he was incompatible in my own writings, yet five months after this was written I married him.
I can still remember him falling asleep at the front table of the Joshua Redman concert and rushing me out in the end when Redman was signing autographs. Then the D’Angelo concert, which he also slept through. I should have listened to my right mind, but as we go along you’ll learn that my heart kept getting in the way.
WE HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON
November 1, 2000
One year before my divorce, five months before the marriage
The thing I always hated about my high school one month boyfriend Jeremy was that he wasn’t very supportive. Mostly because he was ignorant.
Henry on the other hand is only supportive in the face of adversity. Any other time he’s a terrible person to turn to for any support. I don’t especially blame him. No one’s ever supported him so how would he know how. But sometimes he’s so blinded by his “I don’t care so why should you attitude” that he becomes completely impossible to talk to.
I imagine that he still hasn’t read my email. How I’ve come to hate talking to him. I can’t have a normal conversation with him. Can’t talk about politics, he doesn’t follow them. Can’t talk about film, he’ll only talk about the kind he likes and I can’t discuss them critically because he accuses me of being like other people who just “diss” things they don’t understand. Never mind that I’m a movie buff and studied film in school. Can’t talk about history. Can’t talk about my job because he seems to hate journalists and he seems to have no interest whatsoever in what I do. He hasn’t quite figured out that not asking equates not caring in my book. If he cared about how I spent my time I’d imagine that he’d ask about it.
I hate to think it but sometimes I’m glad we didn’t get married. He makes me feel so worthless at times. It’s as if the things I enjoy have no value. Like he insists that I pick the movie because he always picks the movie, but when I pick something he never likes it and looks at me like I’m nuts for wanting to watch it. I will watch anything. I just like movies. But our cinematography woes are little. The problem is he doesn’t like anything I like. I spend more energy trying to understand his world and he acts like I’m punishing him if he sits through a minute of mine.
He can’t be around my family. He can’t be around my friends. He can’t discuss media or politics or the historical/political ramifications that affect our very lives. He doesn’t even vote. He can’t learn things with me because he “already knows them.” We can’t grow together because he’s already on a different level. I wanted to marry my equal, not my father. I don’t want a teacher and he doesn’t understand that. I want a companion. I want to learn things on my own. But something is wrong for me for not wanting him to teach me every damn thing. He got to learn on his own, why the hell can’t I? I feel like he spent the last year trying to suffocate me from the world.
Yet I don’t want to let him go because I want to be right. I want us to be right. I don’t want to think that I put myself and my family through this emotional turmoil for nothing. We went through too damn much, we have to be right for each other. Yet we aren’t. And then we are.
I’m tried of transforming my dreams so they will fit with his. He’s not trying to change for me. He’s not trying to be friendly or engage in a normal conversation with me. Why in the hell am I trying to learn karate? Not because I want to but because it would make him happy and make us closer and then maybe, maybe he would take an art class with me or have dinner with my friends and have it not turn into a complete nightmare. Maybe we could rent a movie that isn’t sci-fi, anime, kung-fu or ghetto comedy. He claims to be open minded, yet sometimes he doesn’t seem to be at all. The man doesn’t even dance. He hates being around people. Even the nice ones.
Damn it. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I wanted to date Allen, my handsome partner in our literature class. Who seemed attracted to me, but was too scared to make a move. Allen, the friend of Henry. The love rays got misdirected and reflected onto an entirely different person. And there’s no telling. I could have ended up hating Allen and wondering about his unassuming, quiet friend in the camis.
But the Marine was the one I chose. Maybe I’m making too much of nothing – said the woman stereotypically as usual.
Love is supposed to be frustrating, but I don’t think you’re supposed to feel worthless every time you open your mouth. Every minute I’m with him I feel it happening. I feel part of me dying. I have to be the extreme version of me to offset him. It makes me miserable and I just want to be happy.