The sun cast its warm light over the snow-dusted city, the ground sparkled like diamonds, and the ice on the river shimmered like a sea of glass.
Despite the beauty of the morning, Adelise wasn’t enjoying it. She had dressed and rushed outside to walk—to breathe fresh air and sort her thoughts after an uncomfortable conversation with her husband Asher.
Should I leave even if he loves me?
In her opinion, the facts were as follows:
1. She had little experience with romance and emotional intimacy. Adelise hadn’t wanted to expose herself to emotional damage by complicating her relationships, so she’d spent most of her life as “an optimist with reasonable aspirations,” feeling unworthy of love and guarding her heart from everyone, including her husband. Years of living comfortably had increased her optimism (she wasn’t unworthy of anything?) and led her optimism to coopt her reason. Now that her standards for determining reasonableness were confused, she didn’t know what she should do even though she knew what she wanted.
2. Earlier this morning when her husband had confessed to loving her (and not other people), she’d felt a thousand things at once: relief, immense and breathless joy,
doubt, stress, embarrassment…
3. His loving her didn’t mean that he suddenly understood the difference between considerate and inconsiderate, so maybe his love was insufficient.
He was irredeemable? Their differences were irreconcilable?
“Surely NOT!” was her visceral reaction, but the facts around this point weren’t clear.
4A. When she didn’t share her thoughts with Asher, he could be awful.
4B. Conversely, when she told him what she wanted directly, he was never awful. They communicated about some things exceptionally well.
5. Ages ago, she had told herself that she would be more open and direct with him about almost everything, not just some things (see above), but the idea of voluntarily exposing herself to heartbreak had made her nauseous (as long as he didn’t confirm he didn’t love her, she could hope…). Instead of confrontation, she’d tried to protect herself by walking away and leaving him alone every time he had said something annoying or hurtful, which had protected her from having him see her cry, but hadn’t protected her from being hurt. She had still cried, held grudges, and catastrophized about necromancy and his hatred of red hair.
Thus, the right thing to do would be
to—Adelise did not know.
She imagined that those from her hometown would say that she had absolutely no right to complain about Asher in the first place and that she should be ashamed for being so entitled as to be upset about trivial and random “faults” of his because a) he behaved excellently, b) she was a gold digger at any rate, c) they had told her many times not to marry such a sketchy weirdo, and d) since she had chosen to become his wife, her main responsibility in life now was to help him fulfill his goals and dreams without complaint—Adelise had never gotten along well with most of them because they had often pissed her off, but it was hard to shake their influence and they weren’t always wrong.
On the other hand, in San Myshuno, it seemed as though people would consider a husband who said hurtful and inconsiderate things to be unacceptable no matter his excuse (i.e., she should “walk her fine ass out the door”), especially if he’d already been given multiple chances to sort himself out.
She collapsed into the snow in hopes that the cold would shock her to clarity.
It didn’t work. Her mind wasn’t any clearer than it had been.
Anyway, she still didn’t think it would be so bad if she did what she wanted regarding her relationship with her husband. Even if she were wrong, she didn’t see how being wrong would hurt anyone (besides her). She’d been stubbornly ignoring others’ advice and doing what she wanted for most of her life. There was little reason to stop now.
A relationship with a spouse where she could be open, fearlessly telling him how she felt and what was on her mind, all while being loved by him would be amazing and miraculously, it felt possible for her—it felt close. Instead of quitting or taking a break, what she wanted to do was embrace her fear (Fier?) and communicate clearly and directly with Asher, not just think about it.