Running from Responsibility?

Dearest Rachel –

I woke up this morning, wondering why I might be imagining myself as a runaway staying at some halfway house on the outskirts of an actual city, rather than as I am, a homeowner in the suburbs, supposedly in charge on my own destiny. I know I have this mental picture of myself as a twenty-something – not unlike your own of yourself as a pre-teen – and find myself acting accordingly, but this was a me that was younger than even that, if I found myself in these kinds of straits. I found myself sleeping on a mattress on the floor of an attic garret with however many other fellows my apparent age, confused as to what brought me to this place. And to top it all off, it appeared to be run by – of all people – a rather young and earnest Jerry Springer.

And you know as well as anyone, I’ve never even been to Cincinnati. So what prompted this?

I might guess that I was trying to run from my responsibilities or something. After all, it was a fairly busy morning I’d had, dealing with paperwork and receipts and whatnot after more than a week away from the ‘office.’ But, to be honest, things got taken care of with surprising speed and efficiency; I even had a chance to check on some personal matters that needed to be attended to regarding upcoming travel, the last of which I hope to take care of this afternoon after walking with Lars. So why should I, after a reasonably successful morning back, be wanting to run away, especially considering the uncomfortable living arrangements at this sort of place?

It seems improbable, but maybe it had something to do with what went on at home afterwards. After Kris got done with cleaning the house, Daniel and I had the place to ourselves – along with being at work throughout the day, Logan was staying the night at his parents for Yom Kippur – and spent the time catching up on various YouTube videos we’d fallen behind on. Again, fairly typical stuff, so there’s no reason to be bothered by any of that. But somewhere along the line, he was trying to adjust the blinds on the patio door, trying to get some cover from the sunlight streaming in, and the next thing that happened was that the sound flickered and went out to the speaker behind him, and we couldn’t hear what was going on onscreen.

Now, I don’t recall raising my voice at him, but I did ask him not to keep messing with the wiring to his left like that, so when the volume dropped out entirely, he blamed himself for causing it. Although, upon examining the hookup (which I really wish you were back to help us out with, as I think you put this whole thing together), I couldn’t tell you what, if anything, he’d tripped in order to accomplish this. But you know, two proximate things happen in quick succession, and you’re likely to conclude that there’s a certain causal nature to them.

At least there was something of a backup plan. Logan had gotten Daniel a sound bar for his birthday; one of the perks of working at an electronics store prior to his current job meant that he could get certain items at a reasonable discount. But we’d never unpacked the thing in the past three months or so, since we had a setup that worked perfectly well – at least, until now. We got it unpacked, and discovered, to our chagrin, that there was no feasible way to hook it up to our television set. The input on the sound bar were to be connected to outlets that simply didn’t exist on our unit – or at best, there was a specific sort of HMDI outlet that it was supposed to be plugged into that our unit didn’t have. Essentially, our set was too antiquated to connect to this thing.

Well… if we wanted antiquated, there was the speaker system that has been sitting in front of Daniel’s recliner for ages. I don’t remember when and where we got it from, but I actually think it may have been secondhand, even for us. He hasn’t been using it much lately, so we thought it might be worth plugging into the computer that runs into the television and provides nearly all of what we watch these days. Unfortunately, the reason he hasn’t been using it seems to be because it doesn’t work anymore.

And all the while as each of us tries to get in back of the computer or the television or the pedestal that the former is on in order to plug this or that in, Daniel is apologizing to me about having caused this mess in the first place. At the same time, I’m having growing doubts about whether anything he did was actually responsible for the situation we were in. After all, the speaker under the old stereo system has been out for years now (also for no apparent reason other than perhaps its age); maybe this one is just catching up with its brother.

In the end, though, as we plugged Daniel’s speakers into the computer to prove whether they worked or not (they didn’t, and we really should just throw them out in that case, rather than leave them cluttering up Daniel’s space when they serve no use), when we let the video we’d been watching run, we could hear it. The old speaker had perversely started up again, and we were right back where we started. There was no point to any blame any more, and we could get back to enjoying the rest of the afternoon and evening together as we always had been.

But maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t happy with the thought that I might have made Daniel think he was the cause of this situation. Yes, he tends to apologize a lot to me, especially when I find myself picking up after him (personally, I’d prefer that he stop apologizing, and just put things in the wastebasket when he’s finished with them; otherwise, this whole situation is just going to continue), but this time around, I can’t say he needed to, and I feel responsible for that. I told him as much, but I suspect my mind decided to both not let me off the hook for that, and at the same time, want to run away from the responsibility of being on the hook for him feeling as he did.

There’s more to relate about last night, including my going so far as to fall asleep in the new recliner (something I haven’t done for quite some time, since the boys are usually occupying the family room in the evenings these days), and the dream I had while stretched out in there, but I think I’ll leave this letter as it is. I have today to get ready for, after all.

Take care of yourself for now, honey. Keep an eye on each of us, and wish us luck; it seems we’re going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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