As I've mentioned, just before Sam and I married, depression really sunk me, made me suspicious of everything good, easily broken, easily frightened, hard to reach. I continue to feel like I’m surfacing, but disappearing from planet earth for several years makes it hard to get to know anyone, to establish connection. I think my in-laws have thought Sam married an alien. He sort of did.
They visited recently, and one night we went out for Italian. On the way home, rounding the glitter of Boston’s night skyline, my mother-in-law and I shared the backseat, our husbands sitting in the front. My seat belt hadn’t been working, and we finally figured out I could plug the silver clasp into the buckle near her, meant for the middle, which made me sort of lean over to her side of the car. In the back while Sam steered us over a bridge, we felt like friends, like I finally wasn’t too submerged in my own skin to have a conversation. Mint tea on my breath, an after- dinner cappuccino on hers, I think I told her about old boyfriends and how I always forget family birthdays. But it doesn't matter what we were talking about just then. It matters that she leaned over and put her hand on my knee, and we giggled. I felt, finally, like a daughter-in-law, like another sort of daughter, like I wasn’t trying to speak lines I didn’t know yet, like I belonged in that car.