My wife gave me thoughtful things all the time. She always gave me things she thought would make me happy. Sometimes I couldn’t even see that when she gave me a gift, and other times I saw it but that perception never worked its way into my perspective. I really looked at things selfishly and greedily. It was weird because I knew I was doing it, and I didn’t want to do it, and I tried to stop. I wanted to care about the right things. I knew what the right things to care about were. It was so weird because, and this isn’t the only thing that was like this, it was as though I was the one doing the thing I didn’t want to, and at the same time watching myself do it. It wasn’t like I was watching without control – when my hand moved it was because I moved it. Stuff didn’t happen on its own. But it was like there was a decision process that I was going through, and from one side of my brain saw that it was making errors, and tried to interrupt the process and fix the errors. But until last year I always failed to interrupt it. But that erroneous process was the other side of my brain. So I was doing the thing, but also watching myself do the thing and unable to stop myself doing the thing. I was distinctly both an actor and an observer. It was weird, and I probably haven’t explained it properly.
Anyway so the thing is I know I never appreciated gifts properly, and I am sure that really hurt my wife more than once. There was a St. Christopher medal on my key chain that I’ve just discovered is missing. It was one of those base metal oxidized $1 ones. My wife brought it home one day and left it on my night stand as a surprise. It was a beautiful little gesture of love. At some point that day either she’d seen it, and thought of me, so she bought it and brought it home, or thought of it and then made a point of going to get it. My reaction was so … it was horrible. It really was. I have a sterling one that my mom gave me years ago, but that I haven’t worn in ages. It was actually starting to erode, and at one point its split ring broke or something and I put it away and it had been there ever since. So here is this loving, thoughtful thing my wife does for me, and gives me a little surprise on my night stand (and I love surprises!) and what did I say? I am pretty sure I actually laughed, and said “but I’ve got one.” How could I have been such a horrible person! How could I have responded to such a wonderful thing with derision and smugness like that?! I don’t know. I really don’t. I think about these things all the time, and how I have never valued enough the thoughtful things she gives me, and the thoughtful things she does for me. That saw them with one side of my brain, and ignored them with the other, and that was the side that was the actor. Even describing that makes so little sense, but that really is what it was like.
My darling wife, if you are reading this, I’m so sorry. I love the medal, and was wearing it on my chain with my crucifix, until I found (I thought) a good way to attach it to my keychain. I carried it for many months. I know I’ve seen it within the last month. I remembered it one day and went looking for it. It had been there, on my night stand all that time. You probably won’t believe this, but I used to look at it every night and think of how you’d gone and bought it for me, and it made me happy and think of how much I loved you. Not just after you left, but before, when you were beside me in the bed. Then I did forget about it for a while. But I love it. I do. I love that you bought it for me and I’m so ashamed of how I reacted to it and how I was ungrateful and condescending and entitled and dismissive and whatever other adjectives I was. I don’t know exactly how that made you felt, but I know it was not good, and I am sorry for making you feel that way. I am sorry for hurting you that day. I think about it all the time, to be honest. That little moment when I should have wondered at the depth of your love, but instead I was a toxic asshole. Oh, my love, please forgive me. I see all these things now. I do! That half of my brain that knew the right things and tried to take over? It’s running the show now. It’s all of me now. I have terrible ideas sometimes, and I still do make bad decisions, but … the part that’s me, the part that was trapped and watching, it’s won. It really has. The thing I want most in this world is to show you the way I really saw you, the way I really thought, the way I really felt, the way I really wanted to act and to be, that was all locked up inside somehow and lost more and more and more battles as the years went on until it was losing almost all of them. Until I was losing almost all of them. I want you to see who I am now, and know that that is who I was trying so hard to be all along.
Forgive me for giving in to all the wrong and selfish and wicked impulses and desires. Forgive me, oh my beloved. I beg your forgiveness.