That day I woke up to a text from my father: “Call me and grandpa RIGHT AWAY”. First, I went numb. Then, burning fear spread across my whole body. My worst nightmare might have already begun.

“How are you going to fly to see grandpa after you’ve ruined the only vehicle of transportation you have–your body? Why is nobody picking up the phone?” I was going crazy with worry, alternating between self-abuse and self-pity, wondering whether I could still talk to Daniel about it.

We had been constantly fighting about food. I needed to eat healthy, he wanted to eat tasty–one of those arguments that sound trivial but escalate quickly. Feelings had been hurt. Trust was on very shaky ground. I wasn’t sure whether it was a hick-up or a break-up. Everything seemed so complicated until I realized that the “don’t tell, show” advice can be applied not just to writing. A plan emerged that would demonstrate that I cared about his needs. I’d surprise him with a healthy version of lemon curd–our favorite spread for breakfast–to show him that my nutrition changes were not at odds with having a delicious meal as in the good old days–before pain took over my body and our lives.

The plan hadn’t included my father’s text which depleted me of every last drop of strength. Afraid that my relationship was hanging by a lemon-colored thread, I dragged myself to the store, wondering how the hell I would get the groceries home, when it was literally and figuratively more than I could carry that day. Somehow I did pull it off, but the next harrowing question arose right away: Where, on earth, would I find the strength to cook the freaking thing? After all, I still needed some energy to do my homework for the writing course I was taking. Resentment stains were all over my perfect plan.

That week’s writing course homework entailed a worksheet where, among other things, I was supposed to write down what I did during the day, which activities were my least favorite, and why I did them anyway. The worksheet was kind enough to provide a few examples, such as: “I got the kids up because they have to go to school.” or “I dug the hole because I had to hide the body.” Following the inclination to share the funny bits of my day with Daniel, I sent him a picture of the worksheet with the comment: “Can’t wait to read where other course participants hid the bodies this week.” Of course, I’d made sure that my answers to the worksheet’s questions weren’t in the picture.

Or so I thought.

In fact, the first line in the picture was: “I didn’t enjoy shopping for the lemon curd.

Apparently, this particular “body” didn’t want to stay hidden.

Not only did I ruin the surprise but I also topped it off with revealing my resentment about having to prepare it. A masterpiece of conflict resolution! However, when my attempts to reverse time proved a failure, I sighed with relief. There was nothing left to do but explain the truth: I did care! So, so much! But sometimes life got in the way.

“Let’s cook together when we have time”, Daniel replied. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s a lovely idea!”

Everything becomes so much easier when you just tell the truth.

Oh, and when I finally reached grandpa, he was completely fine. Apocalypse had been cancelled.

Photo credit: jules:stonesoup on Visualhunt / CC BY

1 Comment
  1. Jessica 6 years ago

    Anna, thank you so much for sharing this story. I think we all know that feeling of caring, so so much! But having life get in the way. It’s so important to be honest with each other and compromise. That’s love.

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