It was supposed to be my space. I wanted a little nook with a comfy chair and a small table with a lamp where I could retreat to. A space to read and write and journal and cry without policing my children’s play or having to stop and search through Lego’s to find Batman’s helmet for the 127th time. Todd built a room divider for me and it seemed to be the best choice to make something from scratch as room dividers cost a lot of money. We came up with the idea to use fence posts that would be screwed together with hinges so it could bend the way it needed to and give me the privacy I wanted for my little nook.
He made it exactly the way I wanted. The posts were painted the creamy white I liked with dark hardware on the outside. I only got to admire it for a short time before it went crashing down to the floor and broke. His solution was to brace the bottom of it with a larger piece of wood because the balance was off somehow. He took raw wooden blocks and attached them to the bottom and I was immediately upset with it, because now the divider didn’t look pretty. It was awkward and these weird stabilizing blocks on the bottom weren’t even painted. In a matter of days, it only took a slight bumping of my elbow to the divider and it went crashing down to the floor again. One panel broke completely off again, wooden splinters sticking out from where the screws were ripped from it in the fall.
He told me he would figure out a different solution and propped the broken panel by the other pieces that were still standing. I suggested calling someone, looking up a video, asking someone for help, like his brother who is a pretty talented carpenter. He wouldn’t ask for help. I guess he didn’t think he needed any.
Several weeks went by and I got angry every time I walked into my room and saw the broken divider. He even got the equipment he needed to fix it, but it stayed by the door in our entryway and the dividers stayed as they were in our room. Broken.
I got angry about them yesterday. Really angry. Angrier than a person should get about a faulty made-from-scratch room divider. I told him the dividers were broken and to just get them out of our room. He attempted one last time to fix them somehow by taking more raw wooden braces to try and fix on the other side. The fix made the piece look even more unattractive. I told him it was a bad idea. The fence posts weren’t going to work. It was broken. I wanted them out of the room. I was done looking at them. I was done with the idea of even wanting to have them any longer.
He was noticeably hurt from my demands, but he said nothing, and silently took them apart and put them in the garage. And I cried later. I cried a lot. More than a person should cry about a faulty made-from-scratch room divider.
And I realized that I wasn’t crying over the divider. Somewhere along the way, the room divider became a visual of our marriage. It’s off balance. It’s awkward. It’s been attempted to be repaired with quick and sloppy fixes. He says that he will do things or fix things and doesn’t follow through in what he says he will do and the room divider was a tangible reminder of what feels broken in our relationship. My heart looks much like the splintered wood where the screws had been ripped out after the fall. And I don’t know the condition of his because he doesn’t it show it to me.
All I know, is that our marriage feels like it’s in the garage. It’s out there with the toys and clothes my boys have outgrown, the bicycles we never ride and leftover paint from other more successful DIY projects. If it doesn’t get fixed, it will probably get tossed out as most things in the garage usually do.