My husband climbs the stairs, slow and defeated. His eyes brim with tears threatening to spill onto the kitchen floor. “What is it?” I ask, even though I know. This is not the weight of work or the isolation of this pandemic. This is about our first baby girl. He breathes into my embrace, and I feel warm salty droplets seep into my sweater.
His exhaustion has compounded these past six months. Tentative and still holding him, I articulate what we both know, “I think this is depression, Ryan.” He nods. His shoulders tremble. “I have been where you are.” Once there, the mind fogs over as if having been injected with a paralyzing venom. “You are not in this alone,” I whisper, like he has whispered to me so many times before.
This is his season. We have exchanged places. I now carry faith and hope through our desert. “We have three good and beautiful children,” I tell him. Our thirteen-year-old will make it through to el otro lado. One day this barbed wire fence between him and her will be dismantled and tossed onto a heap of remembrance.
Julie Sonnek is a writer and language teacher living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her husband and three children. She writes creative non-fiction and poetry about family, place, and faith. She writes primarily in English, with sprinklings of Spanish. Her writing has appeared in Literary Mama. She has self-published a book of poetry and photography available through Blurb.com titled: Una Vista Brillante: Reflections of Colombia.