“What would make you hate me?” Jared asked.

“What kind of a question is that?” Olivia replied tersely, without really considering answering. It was a practiced deflection. Olivia had been deflecting Jared for years.

Olivia always said she wanted a deeper bond with Jared. She chided him for his silence, for not sharing enough details of his day, for never talking about his deepest thoughts and feelings with her. But, the truth was, Olivia didn’t want to know EVERYTHING that went on in Jared’s head – only the good parts, if there were any. The parts that would uplift her and reinforce the fairy tale world she’d built around their relationship. And, if there were no good parts, Olivia wanted Jared to make some up.

The truth was, Olivia feared truth. At least, any truth she might find unpleasant to know. So, she usually avoided it.

“It’s a simple question,” Jared replied. “You always say you love me, and you seem to have reasons for it. But what would make you hate me?”

Olivia sensed a trap, or at the very least, bad news. Was Jared about to tell her their marriage was over? Or he’d had an affair? Or he’d gambled away all their savings? Or was he just looking to start a fight? Because answering his question truthfully could ignite all kinds of fires. It wasn’t a positive question, and Olivia could think of no way to answer positively.

“It will make me hate you if you don’t let this question go,” Olivia replied smoothly, feeling good about coming up with a brisk, non-combative deflection.

Olivia and Jared sat in silence a while longer. The while stretched into a lifetime. The thoughts in Jared’s head were still there. But Olivia didn’t know about them.

 

PC: Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash