Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Chapter Five: DAVE GIVES ME THE ULTIMATE ULTIMATUM!
By Gina Morrison
I am back at Dottie’s cafe on the sofa that I consider my own. I should start paying Dottie rent.
I am frying pan mad. I am trying to get my head around what Dave said to me a few minutes ago and I just cannot. I am trying to figure out what to do.
He gave me an ultimatum. We had just finished a rather pleasant dinner. He had roasted a chicken, and he even made my favorite mashed potatoes and Grandma Mish’s carrots, coated in flour and fried.
He lit candles and there we sat, chatting away about nothing in particular. It was rather delightful. But as soon as we’d finished, and he was putting water up for tea, he started in on me.
“So, Gina,” he began, “I want to talk to you about something important.”
I eyed him, suspiciously. What was he going to spring on me now? For a horrifying moment, I thought maybe he was going to tell me that he was seeing her again. There was my heart, jammering away in my chest. I did my best to quiet my nerves.
“What is it now?” I whispered, feeling that draining sensation go snaking down both my arms turning my limbs into warm puddles.
“I was wondering if I could ask you to consider something."
"I was going to ask you to stop writing that book of yours. You know, take a breather for a while.”
I looked at him, relieved, in one respect, and horrified, in another. It was if he had just asked me to climb up to the roof and jump off the peak into the driveway.
“But why?” I said, thinking to myself, I'm already having a hell of a time writing it, all I need is for him to interfere.
I picked up the dirty plates off the table and carried them to the sink.
He followed me in silence. He filled the kettle with water and took two mugs from the cabinet. He put a mint tea bag into each mug. Turning his back to the counter, he leaned up against the kitchen sink and crossed his arms. “I don't want to be a jerk about this,” he said, “and I really do understand that you’re into writing it, as a kind of healing thing, but I’ve been reading what you’ve been writing, up on the blog, and honey, I…” He stood up straighter. “It’s making me really uncomfortable.”
I didn’t answer. Not right away. I was tempted to say, “Well isn’t that a shame,” but I bit my tongue.
Finally I spoke. “Well so don’t read it then.”'
“Yeah, well, it’s me and my life you’re writing about, in part anyway.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, in part. But mostly it's about me, and the PTSD. Elizabeth says that writing this book is going to help me.” Of course, as I said those last words, part of me wondered, is that true? I would love to think that writing the book is helping, but part of me thinks, I'm feeling even more crazy writing than before I started.
My heart was really jamming up against my chest.
“Well, so if you’re writing about me," he said, "or about us, then it seems to me that I should have some say about what you are telling the world. It seems to me that I have a right to say that you can’t post something in a blog for all the world to read.”
“I'm afraid I don’t know that I agree with you about that.” I busied myself rinsing the plates.
“You I think I’ve got a right to my privacy, Gina, don't you?"
I inhaled. I wanted to say, "no, dammit, you gave up that right," but I couldn't really see that was true.
Honestly, I really couldn't think straight. But I hated the feeling that he was telling me what to do.
“Look, Dave, my shrink thinks it’s helping me to get it all out. To write it all down. There is research that shows that…
“Gina, you’ve explained the research to me at least three dozen times already. I’m all for you writing your story. Yes, by all means, get it all out. But why not write it all down on paper. In a journal? At some point down the line, maybe you can put it together in a different way, calling it fiction. Change some of the dicy details. But don’t go posting all our lives and dirty laundry on a damn blog for God’s sake. I don’t wanna see my business splashed all over the web four or five days a week. I happen to value my privacy even if you don’t.”
He had a point about his privacy. Perhaps. But I wasn’t about to admit it. I thought back to my last post. http://switchthenovel.blogspot.com/2010/07/ptsd-is-son-of-bitch-with-club_11.html Sure, I'd had just a little twinge of doubt about what I was doing, even as I had posted it. But hey, I needed to write the story that mattered to me, didn't I?
"The point is, Dave, I feel like I have to this book. Period. And I'm hoping it helps me. One other thing, too: I feel like I’m on something of a cutting edge, artistically."
That last point was true. Ever since the Ipad came out, it has become more and more clear to me that printed books are going the way of rotary telephones and vinyl records. I want to write a book on-line, with illustrations.
“Look, Gina, I don't want to cramp your style. But I told you, I won't stand by while you air our dirty laundry in public. You've gotta try to be more sensitive to me honey."
My head started reeling. I started to feel the PTSD kick in. I started to see him in bed with her, I didn't want to, oh God, I didn't want to. I stood there and stared at him. And answered finally in a kind of robotic voice.
"Dave, I am desperate to cure the PTSD. And so that’s what I’m doing. I'm writing my story. And I'm writing about a nun too and I'm going to set her free with my story. And I'm going to..."
Suddenly the kitchen started to swirl around me. I heard myself talking but I couldn't actually say I believed what I was saying. I dropped into a chair and kept going.
"All I know is that I’ll be damned if I am going to be censored by the man who caused the problem to begin with. That man being you.” I paused, and the kitchen kept twirling. And then I went on. “I think I have a right to tell my story. Period.”
Dave took the chair across from me. He reached out to take my hand.
“Yeah, except it’s our story honey. Think about that, will you?”
I must say, he spoke the last few words in a very gentle and loving voice. But that just made me more nervous. He was asking me to give up a project I was really enjoying, and one I really think is starting to help me deal with the PTSD.
I stared at him. I felt numb. I felt like words were coming out of my mouth that I couldn't control. The whole kitchen was falling into my lap.
“Look, Dave, when you decided to have an affair you didn’t consult me first. So it seems to me that if the only way I can heal is to write this, then you might try to…”
His eyes flared. He stood up. “Gina this isn't fair. This blog stuff you're doing is just you being the wreckless artist. It's about you mixing truth and lies in a way that hardly disguises what is going on. Really what it is, it's about you doing whatever the hell you feel like doing on-line for everybody to see. I'll say it again because obviously you didn't get it the first time: you don’t have the right to expose us like this to the world. You know that too. We both agreed in therapy that we value peace and harmony in our day-to-day lives. So now I’ve got to ask you, how does writing this book and posting this shit on line help create peace and harmony? Huh, tell me that?”
The word shit me like a stone in the forehead. Maybe if he hadn’t used that word, maybe I wouldn’t have lost my temper. I stood up. I had all I could do not to throw the teacup I was holding into his face.
“You don’t get it. You never did, you still don’t. So this discussion is over. I’m going to write whatever I feel like writing, and I will tell the world whatever “shit” I please. So my advice to you, is, deal with it.”
I went to the sink and dropped the cup. It smashed. I left the kitchen via the back door, which I slammed as hard as I could.
So I am at Dottie’s frying pan mad. I have to decide what to do. I am half-tempted to take off. I think I’ll phone Xandra, maybe she can help me make sense of what I’m feeling. Maybe, just maybe, I will take this opportunity to head out to California to see her.