Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)
TITLE: Sandy's Anger
By Clay Drysdale
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Billy stared at the wood grain of the floor, her words soaking into his mind.
"Why do we have to argue about this same issue over and over?" she continued. "I just want us to be close. Why is it that you won't let me into your life? Why do you keep shutting me out?"
Billy had heard these words many times before. He knew Sandy's anger was real, that she was well past the boiling point. It usually started out as gentle conversation, as Sandy would probe Billy to get at his innermost thoughts and feelings. However, much to Sandy's dismay, Billy would almost always shut down, sitting in silence and refusing to allow her entry into his world.
Then Sandy's words would get more and more desperate, as her futile attempts continued to try to unlock her husband's hopes and fears. He would give one- and two-word answers, and her pursuit would crescendo into full-volume yelling, just as it was right now.
Billy hadn't always been this way. The last six months had been extremely difficult for him since he'd lost his father. He'd been quite close to his father since his mother's death. Now he felt like he had no one to help him sort out life's ups and downs. Suddenly losing his father in a head-on car crash had sent his own life into a tailspin. Some days it was almost too much to bear. Why couldn't Sandy understand that? Why couldn't she just quit prying?
"Why? I'll tell you why," she said. He must have asked that last question out loud instead of just in his mind.
In a much softer tone she said, "Because I love you, that's why. I love you and I want us to work. If I didn't care I would have packed up and left long ago. But I want to help you."
Sandy paused. "I've been thinking about something, Billy. I think we need to go counseling - to try to work through your pain together. I'm tired of being angry with you. I love you too much for that. Will you go with me to see a counselor?"
He said he would, not really sure if he'd ever make it there or not. He wondered which was worse, counseling or having Sandy angry with him.
In the end Billy decided that he'd had enough of arguing with Sandy. He did go - not just once, but several times over the course of the following months. Each time Sandy was there by his side to give him support and encouragement. It wasn't easy, and his grief didn't go away all at once, but over time Billy was able to learn how to open up to Sandy and deal with his pain over his father's death.
As they were walking to their car after one counseling session, Billy turned to Sandy and said, "You know, talking is better than fighting."
Sandy replied, "Yes it is, Dear, yes it is."
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