The Smile

Lately I’ve been frustrated. Swallowing my desire to punch people in the faces, and briskly walking into the bedroom to stop myself from snapping at Kamel. Or snapping at Kamel and snapping at Kamel and hounding and nitpicking and frustrating and annoying myself with my massive aggravation towards the entire universe, a universe that lies within 5 feet of me. Aggravation that lands mostly on Kamel, since he is the most frequent visitor to this universe.

His singing annoys me.

How slow he walks annoys me.

How he washes the dishes annoys me.

His feet at night annoy me.

His hair, his smile, his inability to get mad at me when I am being a total bitch. It all annoys me. It makes me want to scream and throw myself onto the bed and writhe like a 3 year old and puff out my cheeks until my face is purple.

I’ve been this way for a week now and it’s wearing on me. It’s exhausting holding all of this frustration in, letting it out, trying to push it aside. And Sunday morning, while putting groceries away, while we were both hungry and cranky, he went to take the garbage to the shoot, down the hall, and when he walked out the door I locked the dead bolt behind him and I felt… relief. I could lock that door and I didn’t have to let him in if I didn’t want to. He could knock and knock and knock and there I would be, smug on the other side. Until he just unlocked the door because he has is very own key, to the apartment that we share. Our apartment, our home. So I shoved the door shut and held it with my foot saying, “NO.” I was acting stupid and Kamel allowed me, for a moment, to do so. Until he said, “Lauren. You’re going to break the door. Open it.” And I did.

And then we went into the kitchen where I told him “You annoy me. You frustrate me. I hate how you walk so slowly and how much you whine!” And he replied back, “Well I hate how much YOU whine!” And I said, “No one. NO ONE whines as much as you. EVER!!” And wow, we were really getting somewhere. And after that I just stood in the kitchen, facing him, the bags of groceries 1/2 undone on the counter, until he hugged me, and I put my face in his neck and gave him little kisses on the space that doesn’t grow stubble. And I said, “I choose you, no matter how annoyed I am, I always choose you.”

That afternoon we went to a movie and in the middle of the movie he turned to me and said, “Hey! She has your smile.” And I said, “What?” And he said, “Your smile, she has it. You do that same little smile.” And he looked at me with love eyes. And right there in the movie theater, looking at Kamel and not the movie, I cried. Not a big cry, just a little one. Because, sometimes, there are moments where you break out of all that ickyness, when all of that floats away, and all you see is how incredibly loved you are and how much you love that other person and it’s overwhelming. Sometimes in the middle of a funny movie, you just have to cry – a little bit, not a lot – because it’s so amazing that you chose each other and still choose each other every single day no matter how much of a bitch you’ve been.

29 thoughts on “The Smile”

  1. I sometimes want to lock Eric out of the house too. It is a powerful and deep feeling, that. And I am sorry that I made Ms. DDay cry. She called them happy tears, so there is that.

  2. I’ve never really had the experience of choosing someone while annoyed with them. Getting really intensely annoyed with someone generally means the end of our friendship (arms-length friends), the changing of my mind (really good friends) or some glares (siblings). I’ve never been super annoyed and still chosen to love.

    This is really powerful.

  3. Oh man. i get…really…horror-movie style annoyed at Isaiah sometimes. 150%. He does the same most of the time…warms my heart in a way that all those icicles fall right off. Glad you have Kamel…those moments are better than never getting annoyed in the first place.

  4. Ohmygosh Lauren. I totally relate. I have those horrible moments, those literal want-to-rip-his-face-off how-can-he-get-this-annoying moments when I just can’t stand him or myself. And Mark never gets angry or annoyed back (ugh). I fear I’m going to become a fricking snapping turtle. But then, like you said, there are those little moments where it all washes away, where it feels fresh, where I can choose to be with him.

    It’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one.

  5. I go through this too. Sometimes I look forward to when the Beagle will be out of town for a weekend or a week for work and I’ll have the apartment to myself. I won’t have to put up with his annoying tendencies. I won’t have to check myself every time I feel like snapping. But after more than one day, I realize that I miss him incredibly and can’t wait for him to get back.

  6. Sometimes, when I read a post that touches me, or I feel like I should keep around to be reminded of I just keep it as unread in my reader. (great system I know)

    This one. Definitely keeping it “unread”
    Thank you for writing about hard stuff. And putting yourself out there.

    Also. I hope that when I’m in Kamel’s position I have the presence of mind to be the hug giver rather.

    1. AND! I never think I’m ever capable of being as patient or as kind as he is. Ever. But then about a month ago Kamle was all out of sorts for a variety of reasons. Throwing tantrums, and exploding over nothingness. And when he had these outbursts my reaction wasn’t anger, it was “wow, something is going on with him.” it was compassion and awareness. I think he makes me a better person all around.

      1. Yes, this. I don’t know if my husband brings out (occasional) patience in me by virtue of his own personality, or if I was just unable to be patient with people who weren’t right for me in the past. Either way, I find I’m able to find more compassion for him within myself than I used to think I could.

  7. Oh, I can relate to this! Lately, I am also a big ball of annoyance and frustration, and even though I have this inner monologue going, ‘STOP THAT, STOP THAT, THAT’S NOT NICE!’ I am still petulant and mean and flustered too often. Luckily, E’s love slows me down enough, once in a while, to get me out of annoyed-mode and into appreciation mode. And oh, do I appreciate.

  8. grocery shopping and the subsequent putting-away-of-said-groceries is often the trigger of my meltdowns, too.

    (how nice is it to hear all these crazy-lady moments we have are normal?!)

  9. Oh my. I totally cried when reading this. Wonderfully written, Lauren. It is amazing the little moments that help you remember yourself and your relationship.

    Your story also reminded me of the time I liked Mike out of our bathroom. I was mad about something. I KNEW he needed to come in for things while I was in the shower. I KNEW he was in a hurry for work. I KNEW he would say something. So, naturally, I locked the door anyway. I wanted to be alone. And I was for about 2 minutes. And then, “Heather, the door is locked.” Then he just walked away and I felt bad and got out to unlock the door. I really wanted to pout longer!

    1. These anecdotes are incredibly, incredibly touching. I really worried this morning that people would read this and say “well it looks like you shouldn’t marry him. I mean, OBVIOUSLY you don’t like him!” Thank god that’s not at all what came across. And thank god I’m not the only one!!

  10. This is SO a scene in a short story, or an entire story in and of itself! <3 Thanks for sharing this beautiful post. xoxo

  11. Dude. This makes me feel soooooo much better about acting like a lunatic. I do the exact same thing to James! And I feel completely irrational and crazy, and I’m aware of it, but I still can’t stop acting irrational and crazy. And the more I snap at him, the more he crowds me and prods at me to get out of my “mood.” Until finally I am forced to run as fast as I can into the bathroom (since he will run after me and grab the handle so I can’t lock it) and lock the door… so I can sit in my own space and throw a temper tantrum.

    But he never leaves me alone, and he never lets me get away with it.  Instead he stands on the other side of the door and says over… and over… and over…  “You know you want to smile!”  “You know you can’t help but smile!”  “If you’re so mad at me, then open that door and come out of here without a smile on your face and I’ll leave you alone.”  “You know you’re not coming out because you’re smiling and you don’t want me to see it!”  And as ridiculously annoyed as I am, I cannot help but smile. And I HATE it – so I scream, “I AM MAD! I’m only smiling because you’re saying that!!! – NOT because I’m happy!!”  And so I open the door. And then he snatches me up and squeezes the stupid mood out of me – and kisses my face – and laughs, because he knows he won.

    And for the life of me, I don’t get why he goes through all that trouble, when he could have just said “Screw you” and walked away when I was being a lunatic and snapping at him about everything and anything. It amazes me the love and patience this man has with me.

  12. You touch my heart. I could only hope that this is the kind of love that you could receive and give. It is speical beyond words.

    Love you tons

  13. Ooooooh man, I know this.

    When Jon and I get into it we GET INTO IT. Or rather … I do. I end up saying (or yelling, or sobbing) nasty, hurtful things, and generally behaving badly over something tiny. (And sometimes, not-so-tiny things.) I rant and rave and decide we shouldn’t be married and the world is ending. And he stands there, let’s me yell/cry and then says (when I take a breath, or have run out of things to say) “Do you need a hug?”

    Which, of course, I always do. And it always makes it just enough better.

    The randomness, too. We were visiting with a cousin this weekend (also named Sarah) and he started referring to us as “Sarah 1” and “Sarah 2”. At one point someone asked how he decided who was one and who was 2 … and he said “In order of importance.”

    We all, of course, gave him a hard time about it. Way to go with the insulting the cousin! But, inside I was going “Awww…. love!”

    So, SO much more than I deserve.

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