I was ducking under the low-hanging Alders and Pussywillows when I heard someone say, Jon Katz.
I looked up from my iPhone where I had been writing a blog post about The Orphaned Woods. No longer walking through the woods, I was back in the waiting room at the Foot Surgeon’s office.
It was the Cocktail Party Effect, hearing Jon’s name I was all ears.
I strained to hear the whole conversation but could only catch bits and pieces. I was able to put together that Jon’s orthotic was still not in. He’s been waiting for it for over a month and it’s crucial in helping his foot heal. Like many things, the orthotic had been delayed because of the pandemic.
The nurse was not looking forward to having to tell Jon they didn’t have it. I could tell how bad she felt, how upset she was.
I thought about texting Jon what I had overheard, but it didn’t feel right somehow. It seemed this was between Jon and his doctor and my telling him before they did wouldn’t make any difference.
And I knew Jon might be disappointed or annoyed, but he wouldn’t be angry or even really upset. Since the delay had been going on for so long, we both knew there was a good chance the orthotic might not be there even though they had told him it would be.
I put my iPhone down and leaned back in my chair.
I was taking the moment to appreciate knowing how good it felt not to have to worry that Jon might be angry. Or, even if he was angry at the situation, he would not lash out at the people around him including me.
I thought of a scene from the TV show The Kaminsky Method that we had just watched last night. In it, Norman’s new girlfriend Madelyn (they are both in their 70’s) tells him that she loved her late husband but that he was an angry man and she had to walk on eggshells around him. She didn’t want that kind of anger in her life anymore and would not be with Norman if he was going to be that way.
I knew just what she was talking about and I imagine so many other women do too.
I grew up around an angry father. The kind of anger that could reach out and pull a person into it even if it had nothing to do with them. And although my first husband’s anger was different than my father’s, I reacted to it with the same fear, because it was all I knew.
I told Jon this morning at breakfast that I completely understood how Madelyn felt. That I would never live with that kind of anger in my life again either.
Knowing Jon would be coming out soon, I picked up my iPhone and began writing again. I wanted to finish the blog post before leaving the doctor’s office. It was only a few minutes later that I heard Jon’s name again. This time the nurse was relieved. “He didn’t even get upset,” she said, “he’s the nicest patient in the whole world.”
That’s my husband they’re talking about, I thought and smiled.