(By request, an esoteric explanation.)
We're alright. Really. Sometimes downhill is an abrupt direction, don't you think?
Ben did indeed come home about a half an hour after I talked with Daniel. He brought me flowers (!) and painfully-found apologies, proving to not do so well after all when faced with the spectacular freakouts and ultimatums I put forth as hallmarks of whatever personality I have left.
The lesson we learned? We can't walk away from each other if we're going to do this properly.
It's a hard one at that. He's as vulnerable as I am, he's lost more than I have over the past two years and we both know by far that we're bringing far less than we both have to give to the table, showing each other our worst sides, almost daring the other to give up first but no one's giving up. I waited and got my act together and he went off and took some deep breaths and came back ready to work through it or at least figure out how to weather it. Facing his fears even though they're the scariest thing in the world to Ben.
Last night he rode the darkest hours holding me tight in his arms, his chin painfully pushed down onto my head, his fingers digging into my skin for purchase from his nightmares and this morning I had some more surprises.
He went running with me. He didn't hate it! We came home out of breath and covered with mud but it felt so good you have no idea.
And then he delivered his ultimatum.
This time I was ready for it. I could meet his eyes and I didn't flinch or anything.