I can feel it building up. It’s like a sound you can almost hear. You know when you think you heard something and you stand still, stop breathing and try to slow your heartbeat to try and catch the almost imperceptible lingering sound in the distance? That it my pressure. It is a long way off but it is building. It’s growing each day and I soon it will catch up to me and that sound which was once too far off to make out will be all around me and all consuming.
The pressure comes from the expectations everyone has of me to do right by everyone else. The pressure comes from the expectations I have of me as a Father to Thomas and a partner to Jenny. The pressure comes from not being financially secure and knowing my limitations and hating them for what they are. The pressure comes from doing a job that I don’t think I’m very good at anymore but that is beneath my talents and ability. The pressure comes from the realisation that I’m getting older, 30 now and that my fitness or lack of is starting to be an issue. The pressure comes from Jenny expecting a future with me and me feeling that the future she wants it uncertain.
This last week changed things. When she walked out on me last, things changed. What was left between us, what I was clinging to, vanished when she walked out the door. I can’t do that again and yet I feel like it is only a matter of time before we’re plunged into a situation where she leaves once more. There will be no going back next time. It will be over. But maybe the ‘last chance’ realisation is not enough. Maybe I have started down a road and it’s only now, when it is almost too late, that I realise it is the wrong direction for me. I feel like I am being coerced in a direction I don’t want to go in and that scares me. I have a Son and I love him more than anything in the world and yet I doubt myself each day. I doubt if I want this. This life of ‘domestic bliss’. I never wanted it before so what has changed to suddenly make that life of painful repetition, that life of routine that I avoided for many years, agreeable to me now? Is it agreeable? I guess that is the real question. Will I rebel against this life I’m being covertly pushed into?
I look around me at all the sad, sad faces of the people who are just like what I am becoming yet vowed never to be. I look at them and I feel pity. Not for the people who feel a sense of belonging in that way of life, but for me because I do not. I fantasise about leaving this all behind. I dream of running from the life that other people want to me to lead. I know that if it was not for Thomas I would not be living this way. I would be somewhere else or be doing something else. I’m terrified that I will grow to resent him for me being here. I am scared that I will resent her and grow to believe that she trapped me. She didn’t. I entered into this consciously. I wanted this.
But I didn’t have all the facts.
But then who does? Do you think that if two years ago someone had told me that I would be feeling this way now that I would have gone down this path? No way. Not a chance. But do you think I want to go back and change things now that I have Thomas in my life? No way. I wouldn’t change it for the world. He means too much to me for me to even contemplate him not being in my life. It is unthinkable. I don’t just mean in basic terms of him, but also in the changes I have seen in me on account of him being here. The awareness I have of what it all means, the responsibility I now have towards another human being. I wouldn’t change any of that.
And therein lies the quandary. How do I extricate myself from a situation I am growing to despise without interfering with my responsibilities to my Tom? Is it possible? What sacrifices will need to be made? What level of involvement am I prepared to accept?
Can I work something out before the pressure grows too much?