Ok, decisions, decisions. So basically Nicky didn’t want me to say anything. I really didn’t want to say anything either. I didn’t want to screw her up with her sister and I didn’t want Carol to be upset with me. So for three days I kept it to myself, not wanting to make any waves. At the same time Nicky and I had been talking on the phone a little bit about what happened between us. I wanted to make sure she was ok, not freaked out about everything. So we talked about it she wasn’t and I was happy about that.
“We also talked about her marriage and some of her relationships with men. I thought it was really cool that she opened up to me because I wanted to get to know who she was from all aspects. The only way you can really understand a person’s character is from their past experiences. I mean everything we are is because of something we were challenged or touched by in our past. That’s my belief anyway.
“True, I believe that too,” Brook nodded slowly with searching look in her eyes like she was trying to read me. I love when women try to read me.
“Throughout our conversations Nicky explained to me that she had been with her husband for ten years. That he wasn’t a very nice guy or he was but when he drank he could be an ass. She had gotten married really young, pregnant with her son, and thought it was what she should do like most good Catholic girls. They had two children together; a boy and a girl. Her son, now twenty-three, was in college studying video. He is actually pretty brilliant. I think he is going to be one wealthy young man some day. Her daughter was about to graduate from high school, typical teenage girl, you know how girls can be with their moms. It‘s a love hate relationship. You know how some young girls go through that stage where they hate their moms? Nicky’s daughter was absolutely there. From what she said, her husband was a good provider but not a good partner. It was extremely sad to know that this man had damaged her heart by instilling so much fear in her. From what she told me, he had basically kept her emotionally captive in her own house and in my opinion she had to find a way to survive. What else could she do but start building walls to protect herself from the emotionally damaging abuse that he inflicted on her on a daily basis?
“When I say emotionally damaging, I mean by not allowing her to grow as a person, to seek out her dreams and desires with the support and encouragement she deserved. If you are not allowed to be who you are supposed to be; to grow and in the process discover your true path, what happens to you?
“If it was me I would have done exactly what she did: Withdraw into my own fantasy world. She did everything in her power to hold the family that she loved so much, together. She took care of her children, protecting and nourishing them with all the tools they needed to become decent human beings. But what she didn’t realize, now this is just my opinion, was that the part of her that she had tucked away where the wall began around her heart so she could survive all of the mental and emotional abuse and neglect on a daily basis, was the part of her that helped her grow, that gave her courage to face her fears with faith and love. She had closed off that part of her heart that she needed most if she was ever going to find herself. She had blocked off that part of her soul that screamed out to be passionate and excited about everyday life. That part that needed to feel something real to experience true joy through true growth that comes from within.
“If we are not allowed to experience true inner growth, how can we experience true joy? How can you know what being in love really is? I couldn’t imagine every day or almost every day… hopefully it wasn’t every day… getting out of bed and taking care of the house and the kids and a husband but not giving myself what I needed. I guess I am a lot more selfish than she is.
“Just thinking about what happened to her makes me sad. I wished I had been around for her. I was also confused as to why no one helped her. But she wouldn’t be who she is if she didn’t go through all of that, if she didn’t experience the challenges she did. Who would she be today? Today she is a really compassionate nurse and really loves working with deaf. Is that because she was so stifled that she genuinely understands what it feels like to have no voice? She didn’t have one for such a long time but does she have a voice now? Maybe, maybe not, what I have a hard time wrapping my head around is how she hid her unhappiness from her family. I mean Carol is so protective but yet so critical of her behavior. Where was she when her baby sister needed her most? Why didn’t anyone notice how dysfunctional her relationship was with this man? Why didn’t anyone help her get out sooner? How is it possible that you can’t feel or see that someone you love is in pain? I know that Carol and Nicky didn’t speak for a while but they both have different versions.
“Carol somewhat acted like it was all her sister’s fault that she hadn’t been around, but of course Nicky’s version is much kinder. Nicky basically says that they were both busy with their lives. In the same breath I heard about the husband that didn’t allow her to have friends or see her family or have a life outside of that household. So which was it?
“I suppose if they were both busy with their lives I can grasp that. But if she was forced to be busy because of an abusive relationship and no one noticed, I don’t get it, you can’t be that self absorbed that you can’t see someone you love is in pain. When I listened to Nicky talk about her experiences there was something missing from the conversation – the emotion that comes with it. She had become so good at hiding her emotions and keeping them to herself that even now ten years later, she still had the walls up. They were so thick that you would need a fucking sledge hammer to get through. I don’t know if anyone will ever be able to get through them. Not until she starts breaking them down within herself. Well it doesn’t matter anyway. Only she knows what she needs.
“Well, either way I needed to meet up with Carol and explain that basically more or less I kissed her sister. Definitely wasn’t giving too many details. Finally, after three days of contemplating, I decided to ask Carol to meet me for a beer. We met at this Chinese restaurant near my house. I had been trying to figure out how I wanted to tell Carol about what had happened without her getting upset. And I had been kind of stand-offish with Carol and Patsy because I didn’t really know how I felt about it. I liked Nicky and the more I talked to her me more I wanted to get to know her.”