Maybe I'm Crazy

Maybe I’m Crazy



Maybe I’m crazy. Sometimes I feel so much anger, I don’t know what to do. I watch him walk across the room, and all I can think about is how much I can’t stand being around him. It isn’t because of any one thing—it’s all the little things that add up, like how he corrects me whenever he has a chance. He doesn’t listen to what I’m saying. He just listens for any mistake I might make so he can jump in and tell me what I’m saying is wrong—the wrong pronunciation, the wrong use of the word, the wrong phrase, the wrong whatever. Usually it has nothing to do with what I’m saying. When I finally get to my point after all his interruptions, he is dismissive of whatever I say: “Did you think of that all by yourself?”

For years I tried to figure out why he needed to do that. I’ve wondered if he just needs to feel superior, but he is much more accomplished than I’ll ever be. Perhaps, despite all his success, he still feels insecure. Sometimes I think that I get under his skin as much as he gets under mine, and this is his passive aggressive way of letting his anger out. Whatever the reason, when his talk gets too much for me, I say something, like, “Will you let me finish before you tell me how stupid you think I am?” and he is better for while, but the old pattern soon comes back. He attacks and I shut down. It’s hard to keep talking if you know you’re going to get shot down no matter what you say. I try to find safe topics, like the weather or taking care of something in the house, but I run out of things to say. I’d just sit there in silence which never feels right. That isn’t how couples should be with each other.

Our friends have noticed how he attacks me. They’ve pulled me aside and said, “Why do you put up with that?” and I just shrug my shoulders. Shaking their heads, they say, “You don’t have to live with that.” If they only knew the whole truth about our relationship, it would make them wonder even more why I stay with him. We stopped making love years ago. We never cuddle or show any affection toward each other. We never laugh together. We never say kind things to each other. All we are is civil. We don’t fight. We just exist, day after day. We have our routines. We’re roommates who share a roof.

I don’t know why I stay. I could walk out, get a divorce, but I’ll never take that step. Maybe it’s the years we’ve put in, a kind of investment I don’t want to give up on. Maybe it’s that I’m afraid to be without him, that he’s convinced me that I need him to get through the day. Maybe it’s because, despite it all, I love him, love what we once had, love the idea of us together, love knowing he is with me. Maybe I’m just crazy.

Ronald J. Pelias

Ronald J. Pelias’ work has appeared in a number of journals, including Midwest Poetry Review, Coal City Review, Poetry East, and Negative Capability. His most recent books, Performance: An Alphabet of Performative Writing (Left Coast Press/Routledge), If the Truth Be Told (Sense Publications), and Writing Performance, Identity, and Everyday Life (Routledge, in press) call upon the poetic as a research strategy.


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