The Elephant

 
 

There is an elephant in our marriage.

Sometimes we talk about it.
Sometimes we don’t.
 
Sometimes I am fond of the elephant. Having one makes me feel special, important, part of this sub-culture of elephant owners. It’s unique and not every marriage has one, that’s for sure. I am certainly proud to have one. People say, “Oh! You have an elephant! Good for you. I would never be able to have one”. They say it like having an elephant requires super powers. It doesn’t. It just requires love and work and determination. Every marriage requires those things, but especially those with elephants.

 
When you meet another woman who also has an elephant, there is an obvious and instant connection. Those of us who have them know that no matter what any other man and woman have, if they don’t have an elephant they can never fully understand the care it requires. And the burden it places.
 
Sometimes we talk about our elephant.
Sometimes we don’t.
 
Sometimes, despite its enormity, it feels small, insignificant, almost like we don’t have an elephant at all. The massive weight of it gone, it feels like it could fit in my pocket. Days and weeks could by by and we feel so normal.
So civilian.
 
Then, and without warning, it is there. Huge and dominating and sitting, somehow, in the middle of every room. Every conversation. When it is so big like this and so very heavy, I hate it.
It’s true.
We aren’t supposed to think it or say it, but I do. Sometimes I hate the elephant.
I hate its unpredictability and its domination and its dictatorship.
And I’ve run out of strength for it but even then it requires more from me. Even when I’m empty, exhausted and naked, having already given it everything I have, it does not go away. It asks for more.
And it’s so damn unpredictable that you can never fully get ahead. Just when you think you’ve finally, after all this time, accepted and made peace with all that having an elephant means, it needs something new. Something more. Something unexpected and something harder.
 
And today, well, I’m all out of peanuts.
 
The elephant is green.
It wears black boots.
 
And today,
I don’t like him at all.
 
Mel.

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