Monday, November 30, 2009

Prompt 66.6. Can I ask you something?/ On The Couch

When Abby and I first dated, it was during a time when I very rarely spoke about my life prior to my arrival in Chicago. Most knew I came from Croatia of course, a few who worked in the ER knew that while I had survived the war in my home country, my wife and children had not, only one, Carol, knew the full story. I'll never know what prompted Abby to open the door on my past that early morning all those years ago, but, I've often wondered if she regretted the decision.

The year was 2000 and we were lying in bed talking about a number of things from our relationship to a patient of mine at the time who was a Catholic Bishop. While I at first resented having to treat Bishop Stewart because of my feelings toward the Church and God left over from Vukovar and the loss of my family, before he died the man enabled me to find my way back to both.

I was a little surprised at first when the conversation settled into silence, then figured it was still early, it was just likely Abby wanted more sleep, and then very quietly she asked the question that started it all.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Um hmm."

"What was her name?"


"Your wife."


"Did you love her very much?"

"Um hmm."

To some it wouldn't seem like much, but, for Abby and I it was huge. Everything to that point had always been about Abby, her life, or her problems, this was the first time she had asked about my life. Over the years there have been other times. She's learned more about Danijela, of our children, of our families, and most unsettling for her, of the war that separated us forever. But, those times would come later, we both had to grow first, to part ways and then find our way back again.

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