"Oh no I'm pretty sure I understand. It's not a health issue, at least that part isn't, at least I don't think so. I think it's her depression." Just saying the word to him aloud felt awkward, like the period talk in sixth grade health.
"Yeah. I picked up her suitcase of medicine at the pharmacy and I saw the depression medicine and didn't know the name so I asked what it was for. She didn't even tell me."
"Not surprised." She looks out the window at the yards as they pass. A few normal houses. White house, blue shutter kind of houses. Maybe a bike left in the yard or sidewalk chalk scribbling monster shapes in the driveway. The monster shapes leered back, their eyes their biggest feature. Then the other houses, faded white, grey really. Broken boards on the porch, missing screen from the window.
He smiles at the red bike in the yard of one of the homes. "I had a red bike like that. But yeah, she just sleeps. I told her today-- and I feel guilty about this and it wasn't meant to hurt-- but I was just trying to explain my feelings and I said I feel like I'm in this marriage by myself."
"By yourself. She probably already feels lonely as it is."
His grip around the steering wheel tightens a bit and he leans forward. His silver wedding ring glistens as they pass under a street lamp. It doesn't even have a scratch yet. "Well I feel terrible. I just, I don't know how to get her out of bed. She refuses and it's hard as hell. I try but then I just kind of go and do my own thing, let her sleep, and she gets mad about it."
She nods, holding her hands together almost as if in prayer. She looks down and sees, then removes the odd pose. It strikes as an unfamiliar feeling. "Well mornings are hard. Really hard."
"She has always been like that. Since I was a kid. I get like that too-- if I don't stay busy, really busy. It's got to be one of the two extremes. Either I can't do anything at all. I'm completely rundown. Or I've got to be superwoman to distract myself." She continues the thought, from the feeling that I'm nothing more than an empty sack, strung up on a clothes line and waiting for somebody to pull me down. "The opposite just happens to work better for her."
"But you're involved in everything. She can't even get up to walk the dog with me."
"No motivation, that's why. Depression does that to you. You don't know why. It's just the way you're wired." You juts feel it wash over your toes, this feeling of dirty water. Then you start getting goosebumps, knowing you're about to get cold. Then you will do anything, crawl under a blanket and turn off every harassing piece of technology, just to not feel that feeling of aching cold that you know is about to set in. "She needs to take her medicine. You need to make her take it."
"I just don't understand."
Breathing in, "Look, if this puts it in perspective for you. It's not just her. I have to force myself out of bed every morning. Six hour exams, three hour meetings, twenty page papers, that's all easy. Eating meals on the go and running between obligations just to keep up, easy. Waking up is the hardest thing in my life. It's the point of the day, before I've put on my tailored personality, the one I hope makes me successful, but morning, that's the point of the day where I'm the truest to who I am. It's fucking hard. I can't get out of bed. I dread it. It's like confronting your worst fear every day of your life. Aaron felt the way you felt a few years back, when we first started dating. He didn't get it. He's so... normal. I didn't know people were actually normal. I thought that was just a myth and everybody was as screwed up as me but he's really normal."
"And he had to physically pull me out of the bed. Somedays I would get physical with him, push him away and crawl back into my cave. Sometimes I still do, during episodes. Some days I would cry. I almost always feel like it. And sometimes, I put on my slave shackles and my clothes and go on with my day and the whole day I think, what the fuck am I doing? I wish I could... well. That's all terrible but it's worth those few days where I'm just okay. If I didn't think another one of those days would ever come, I don't think I could ever put my feet back on the floor."
"So if she feels like that, what do I do?"
"Kiss her forehead and say, it's okay. She'll know your lying but it feels good for the second your words hang in the air."