Perhaps it is because we have been together for so long. Perhaps it is because he is, above all else, my best friend. Or maybe it's because he's a rock of a person and without him around, I float off into space, untethered without his solid presence.
I was fortunate enough to meet my hubby when I was still in high school. It turns out that when I was seventeen I fell in love with one of the kindest people I've ever met and one that loves me for who I am. And that is no small thing.
It turns out that I'm not always all that loveable. I know, I know. You're saying, "No way, you're very lovable Natalie. I've never met you but you look nice enough from your picture and you don't spout negativity and vitriol (not that often anyway). Of course you're lovable!"
But the truth is, my husband is married to an emotional, sensitive, passionate, opinionated and slightly eccentric writer. Oh, and did I mention that I was born stocked with a larger than required amount of that wonderful hormone estrogen? If you are a woman, I need say no more. You understand.
My kind, even-keeled rock of a husband stays put - a monolith of a man - despite the fact that he never knows from day to day which wife he'll be living with that day. One morning he wakes to a mellow woman, moving quietly and calmly through her day. Receptive and open is that woman. When he wakes to that wife, he can expect convivial conversation full of give and take, likely a lovely dinner into which she has poured her passion for good food, a lovely evening in which she listens to him talk about his day with interest and attention.
He must really love those days!
The next day though, he may wake to a tearful woman seemingly in mourning for the loss of her greatest friend. "What's the matter?" he'll ask. He will usually hear her reply something like, "I dreamed that you left me. How could you?"
"So I'm getting in trouble and you're sad over something that I did in a dream?" The wife that greets him that day merely nods her head yes and tears continue to pour from her eyes and onto his shoulder as he draws her head to his chest, patiently comforting her as she cries out tears for the horrible thing that occurred in a dream fueled by fear.
Another day he may wake to a woman whose eyes are filled with the fire of an anger that knows no bounds. The fury could be over an injustice done to a person or persons many thousands of miles away, or could be fanned by the flames of concern from a news story she heard over the cruelty done to a dog by its owner. The inferno of her anger may have been lit by the latest political drama trending or a memo about the bullying policy that she received from the school.
It doesn't matter what has her ire up that day. There is no abating the thirsty flames of her passion over the issue. He listens patiently and most of the time says little. He has learned that arguing the other side of the issue will only lead to the fiery read head turning her anger on him. His motto: "At all costs, avoid the Wrath of Nat."
The next day he awakes to a woman that is withdrawn into herself, her eyes glassy with the look of someone far away. A simple question such as "Are you busy today" while she's combing her hair will likely get him the death stare and a curt reponse. He should know by now that that vacant, far off look means that she is far away - in her fantasy world with the real people that live only in her head, living a life in true places that exist only in the mind. Dialogue is being spoken. Dreams are being hatched. Betrayals are learned. Tragedies strike.
That day he is living with his writer wife engaged in story building. He knows better by now than to expect a hot dinner that night (she is passionate about cooking but even her passion for food will be laid waste by the passion for the story). She'll be "gone" all day and likely a surly bear if anyone interrupts the story that is taking place in her head.
That night he know that once the kiddo is in bed, she'll rush to her office and close the door. He'll hear her music playing and maybe smell the pungeant but sweet smell of the incense smoke snaking out under the door. He won't see her again that night and knows better than to interrupt her when her fingers are flying across the keys.
He's a patient man. He'll wait. Who knows, tomorrow may be that day he gets to wake to the woman whose hormones are in check, whose passion for the story was spent the night before, and who is restocking her emotional supplies while the inner fire stokes, ready to ignite again.
Pray for him. He is married to a writer.