A Seeker Be
A Minute to Myself (18)

Isolation Ward or Home?

It’s Monday night at the end of a three-day weekend. It’s dark outside, it’s quiet inside. My ex-husband is in the master bedroom with the door closed; my older daughter is in her bedroom with the door closed; my younger daughter is in her bedroom with the door closed; and I am at the dining room table. I am listening to Barbra Streisand sing about her man and about not letting the parade rain on her. It is quiet, which is lovely, but it is so sad in here—in this house that is not a home.

I had so wanted to create a boisterous home for my daughters, my husband, myself. Instead there is such isolation, we have created an isolation ward instead of a family home. One of the reasons why I so liked living in Israel was because it was so family-centric, people still went to their parent’s homes for Friday night dinner. And when we first dated, we were at his parent’s for Friday night dinner whenever he was in town, and even though I didn’t understand what everyone was saying (it took a while for my Hebrew to follow a simultaneous six-way conversation presided over by my ex’s father). It was only after we married that those dinners were cut back, and not because we were not invited, he didn’t want to go. I should have seen that as a sign of his trying to isolate us, but how much can a person’s desire for rest and quiet in his own home be interpreted as a sign of trouble brewing? Surprisingly, I became the daughter-in-law asking to go to the in-laws’. Togetherness, family, sharing—that’s what I wanted, that’s what I thought I was getting. Instead, I got a man for whom his home was his island and his castle.

And when I tried to bring my friends into the castle, they were critiqued. So I stopped inviting them. My boisterous home never came into being. Because how could I be a gracious hostess, time and again, for his friends when he did not reciprocate for mine?

My younger daughter has just come down, she wants tea. The dog has come down, he wants whatever food will be served. Sounds of life have returned. And now my older daughter is down, she has discovered the tuna fish that I prepared for tomorrow after school. And she says that it’s good. And she says that the hamburger that I made for lunch was good, too. I guess it’s not as lonely in here as I thought.

But now he has come down to turn the AC down to 65 so we can all bundle up inside. And he’s checking with my daughter that she ate the baguette; I assume to ensure that I didn’t eat from the one thing that he bought this month. Some things don’t change. The isolation ward: I guess it’s preferable to this surveillance and supervision.

Please, please someone make us an offer we can’t refuse! I still have it in me to create a warm and boisterous home, but for how much longer?


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