Standing at the kitchen counter, she quietly and quickly assembles the sandwich, squaring the meat and cheese and bread, just so. It goes into the Baggie with a pinch and a zip. 

As she methodically works, her thoughts are busied with arranging today’s list of things to do: call the school, revise the contract, do some laundry, and on and on.

Behind her, as is true of most mornings, she hears his footsteps on the hard floor, slow and uneven, tentative from sleep. As he nears, she feels the muscles in her body tense. She knows why, but she doesn’t want to know why. Already, she is telling herself, “Let him in, let him in.” Still, she tenses, closing her eyes, her body deceiving her, as usual. 

Enclosing her, his arms wrap around her, sliding in under her own arms and around her waist, his chin resting on her shoulder, and his whiskers brushing against her cheek as it locks into the crook of her neck. 

“Good morning, beautiful,” he says, optimistic. 

She hears the sigh before she feels it, knowing it has just escaped her own lips, wishing it had not. Closing her eyes, she wills her body to relax, but it does not, she is busy after all. There are so many things to do, doesn’t he know that? 

As soon as the last inch of air releases her lungs, that telling sigh, she feels it. The courage, the risk, the hope, slowly letting go – his fingers not so tight, his arms not so strong, his head a bit heavier on her shoulder.


-a post from a few years ago reworked and shared in response to the daily prompt, Uneven; photo found on Pinterest

30 thoughts on “Unsaid 

    • Thank you, Emily. 💜I agree. Being vulnerable is very scary, and maybe especially so with ourselves and the ones we are closest with. The fear of rejection can be crippling if we allow it to be.

      • But I don’t understand, if you are married and with the one you love, why is this vulnerability scary? It should be the one person you are completely secure in the knowing. Unless something bad happened? I don’t get it.

      • Vulnerability isn’t scary anymore with M. And yes, it should be that way. I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my history, fear of rejection was so ingrained due to past experiences, that being so vulnerable was scary to me. Sadly, trying to protect myself had the opposite of the intended effect, and it pushed away instead of pulling closer. With the one I loved the most, there was the most to lose. Yes, it was ass-backward, and it took me a long while to chip away at that protective barrier.

  1. Looking at this from the other side, it kills me, I’ve been there, and it feels like rejection with a capital R. I believe that couples, no matter what stage of life they are in, should always put their relationship and each other first. Yes, even before kids!

    • I agree, Barney. I’ve been her. I know M felt rejected, he’s told me so, as we openly talk about all that stuff. At the time, even as we actively worked to crumble whatever barriers we had in our communication, there were misfires and cyclical behavior/attitudes which kept us sometimes banging our heads against that wall. It’s hard! It takes serious vulnerability to own your shit, lay it all out there, and hope to God the other person sees, accepts, and does the same. That’s really the only way.

      • Thanks for that kay, being that vulnerable is the real hurdle for me. That and the damage I caused with all my porn use. That was the rejection for her. Now my fear is she doesn’t have the will to start over, try again.

      • I can understand. I can only speak for me, and the only way I figured I could expect M to be so vulnerable, was for me to jump. I’m NOT saying that’s what you should do, as I can’t possibly speak to your relationship. I just knew I had to, either way, because it’s who I am, who I needed to be. No matter what.

      • I was already thinking that was the way I need go, All or nothing and I already have nothing sooo? I have been holding back for so many years out of the fear of rejection and confrontation I just couldn’t see that holding back was a decision with negation consequences.

  2. Wow. This is very real and so true. You captured it brilliantly. I wish more people were able to see how this can crush someone and have the courage to change.

  3. Kat and I love to talk about many of your posts, like this one, because you always put your emotions out there. It is both refreshing and thought provoking…not to mention entertaining. — AJT

    • I’m humbled. What a lovely compliment. 💜

      This is how I felt at a point in my life, for reasons both internal and external. I’m so happy I don’t any longer. That’s not to say I don’t battle some of those old voices and old habits, because I do. But now, I speak out loud and no longer hold in my emotions. M shares with me too. That openness between us makes all the difference.

      Thank you both, so much. 💜

      • You are most welcome.
        We’re glad communication and being with the right person has helped you beyond those feelings (for the most part), and hope that the journey continues with much happiness.

      • I’m glad. Thank you, it’s something I’m compelled to do, for the last few years. It helps me sort, to own my story, begun to let go of guilt and shame, and let go….

        Thanks for reading! I’m happy you’re here.

  4. Wow! Your post makes me feel like you were there in the kitchen taking notes! This line said it all to me, “she is busy after all. There are so many things to do, doesn’t he know that?” For me the unsaid finish to that line in my head was, “doesn’t he know that his place is after the kids, after my work and the laundry?”. The opposite of Love is not Hate, it’s I don’t care. It’s I love you but I’m not “In Love with You”. This is a portrait of someone who is hungry and the other is not or chooses to be on a restricted diet! Fortunately for me, in the long run, I have found my soulmate. It only took 50 years! This is a beautifully captured moment, but a sad one (to me). Thanks so much.

    • Thank you. Yes, I can absolutely understand how that would be the unsaid finish to that line, the rejection that must have been felt. For me, there were external contributing forces as well as the internal issues I had going on. The communication issues were with us both, and try as we were, I sometimes felt defeated. We both had our own work to do in order to be more vulnerable with one another. Still, no excuse for what that action communicates.

      I absolutely agree to the opposite of love being I don’t care. That is so powerful. And I’m so happy you’ve found your soul mate! Luckily, I’m still with mine….and I never miss a hug.

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