A husband and wife sat across from each other in a booth where they were eating Chinese food. The wife ordered, then the husband ordered. and then they started to talk about a recent disappointment in their lives which they eventually agreed was small in the grand scheme of things. They agreed to be happy and remember how blessed they were to have all the good things they had in this life.
Out of the blue, the wife said to her husband, "I want you to know that lately I've been filled with rage," because she had been filled with rage lately and she didn't know who else she could share this terrible secret with besides him.
The husband said, "What are you talking about? Your life is wonderful."
The wife replied, "I know what you think you know about my life, and I am telling you that you are wrong. I am filled with rage, and the only way that I'm finding I can deal with the rage is by making sure that I put myself first for a change and stop worrying all the time about other people's happiness. I am becoming bitter from all the years of taking care of other people and never feeling like I am making anyone happy. I am sacrificing things that I want to do because in the back of my mind I am thinking this will result in their happiness but when it doesn't, I am left to ask myself what I am doing with my life except wasting my time?"
The husband looked uncomfortable and worried and clueless as all at once and immediately told his wife that she was being over dramatic. He asked her, "Well does this mean will I have to worry about you along with everyone else now?"
And the wife took a deep breath and explained to him one more time that her happiness and well being should be of concern to him, that he should be worrying whether she was happy because she worried about his happiness all the time, and isn't that what married couples do?
She told him, "The fact that you do not worry about my happiness makes me crazy. It makes me feel like I have no one in this world looking out for me and if that is the case, as it has been proven time and time again, then I'm going to take matters into my own hands and start looking out for myself."
The husband looked everywhere except at his wife and said, "Where is this coming from? I thought we were going to focus on the positive?"
The wife replied, "You don't understand. Just because I point out to you something that bothers me doesn't mean that I do not recognize all the wonderful things that I have. One has nothing to do with the other, and I don't want every conversation that I start about me to turn into a conversation about somebody or something else because that's what always happens here."
The husband looked around, and the wife could tell by his eyes that he was shocked and sad and panicked to hear these words come out of his wife. "Can't you just be happy." he pleaded? "I'm happy."
And this is the part of the story where the wife was always losing because she knew in her heart that at best, what we know of each other is what we allow others to see of us, and sometimes, even when show them what's beneath the surface, all they want to see is what they want to see.
The wife finished her diet coke, fished an ice cube out of the glass, and crushed it between her teeth because it felt good to her to crush something.
They paid the bill, walked to the car and began their drive home. The wife leaned her head against the cool glass and looked up at the stars. She felt so small, almost invisible, but she did not tell her husband this because she wasn't up to hearing once again how very lucky she was.
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