From The Abyss, Summer Solstice 1999 edition, vol. 1.5

His mother said she didn’t mind, and it was obvious she did really want to be understanding.  He appreciated her desire, but the guilt still dogged him.  He still felt the weight of the unspoken judgement, piled on pound by pound in people’s facial expressions, the looks in their eyes, the body language, the abrupt changes of topic.   He tried to avoid the subject, to navigate each conversation around that dreaded sandbar, but somehow he still ran aground most times.  He just didn’t know how to explain it to anyone.  There hadn’t been any substantive difference when he was married, just a different person putting up with him – trying not to lose patience when he had no contribution of his own to make, trying not to get mad when he couldn’t do things on his own.  No one had judged him then, as though it were okay as long as you were married.   It wasn’t anything he’d done that had ruined his marriage, it was all the things he hadn’t done, hadn’t been able to do.  After the divorce he’d moved back in with his mother, and he was still there – 35 years old and living at home.  He had Autarkeophobia, the fear of independence.

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