The Monster

We lived on the river near several walking trails and went out for walks most days. Walking hand in hand we made our way down the trail towards the river and beyond.

Relationships can be wonderful when holding hands
The Deschutes River

We hadn’t talked about “that night” and it was eating me up inside.

Sometimes if I don’t talk about something that is bothering me, it just keeps swirling around inside my head until it picks up speed and becomes a tornado. I could feel it happening on that walk.

Judd was back to his usual cheerful self chatting away, but I wasn’t paying much attention to the conversation. When we were finally heading back up the hill towards home, the tornado touched down and I asked him what happened that night.

He stopped walking and looked every bit like the guy who thought, “Crap, I was hoping we would never have to discuss this.” But it was out now, and I needed answers.

You know that saying, “be careful what you wish for”?

We sat down on the wooden bench that was half way up the hill and he told me that there was a side to me he didn’t like. He said he was even afraid of it.

I was baffled and asked him to explain.

He told me that most of the time I was fun and easy going, but then there would be moments that this “monster” would come out.

I was 49 years old and had been through more than one relationship and I can tell you, I’ve heard plenty of complaints about me. But this one was new.

So I asked him to give me an example.

He reminded me of a few times that I would be upset if something hadn’t gone my way. I listened and asked if he saw my side of those situations. He looked almost confused by that question, and then answered, “I guess not”.

We talked it out and both felt better, but those words stuck with me for years. I would dwell on them from time to time, and try to see the “monster” he was talking about.

Did I have two different sides to me that I didn’t even know about?

Heading the rest of the way up the hill towards home we held hands and talked of other things. That night at dinner Judd surprised me with another conversation.

When I’d first met him, he was selling advertising for a local publication. But I also knew he was an aspiring artists as well.

He taught art in Arizona. And he had a few shows in New York and California years earlier, but was never able to take it further.

He said wanted to quit his job and be a full time artist.

The beauty of relationships
Judd’s drawing of me

Not only was I in love with this man, but I had also been taught early on to be supportive, to be the wingman, so to speak. And so it came as natural as breathing to encourage him to pursue his dream.

We spent hours talking about what he could do and if there were any teaching opportunities for him. It was very exciting and completely impractical.

And it didn’t take long before we realized we couldn’t afford our condo near the river and another big change would come the New Year.

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