I go outside.

Whenever he is in a bad mood, I go outside.

Whenever he interrupts me to criticize the content of the sentence I have yet to finish, I go outside.

Whenever he argues with me when I’m agreeing with him, I go outside.

Whenever a story I’m telling, for some reason, or none, pisses him off, even when it’s just a story, I go outside.

Whenever he is obsessing out loud over a future that isn’t happening,

Whenever he is telling me what jobs I need to apply for,

Whenever he is expounding upon opinions and beliefs that I am really supposed to agree with whole-heatedly, all the time, and never say anything . . . or else,

Whenever he isn’t listening, which is all the time,

I go outside.

It’s not much, just my backyard. But, there’s a lavender bush that I rescued after the landscaper guy, who lived in his van, mowed it down.

I stopped getting angry a long time ago. It’s not worth it. Nothing changes. It’s screaming into the void.

I’ve just been hanging on, until it’s time. Going within, and going outside. Smelling the lavender as I rub its buds between my fingers. Admiring the bees and their diligence. Digging in.

I did choose to be here, after all. Even if I didn’t know what I was choosing at the time.

And, this, too, shall pass. I just have to stand here.

It’ll be a hard winter. One way or another.

It takes a lot of energy to be strong. A lot of breath. A lot of air. A lot of digging in.

I go outside because that’s where my power is. Because that’s where I am. And in the Spring, when the freezes and frosts are done, I’ll plant some more lavender bushes in the circle garden, next to the one that still stands, digging in.

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