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How to Love Someone With Bipolar Disorder, a prose poem by Becky Armoto

How to Love Someone with Bipolar Disorder
by Becky Armoto

Every January morning, we’d eat breakfast from our wedding-gift
waffle maker, shivering like abandoned children (and we were
children) in our heat-controlled apartment, where frost decorated
the inside of the windows in snowflakes. Wrapped in quilts, we sat
on an old futon that doubled as both our couch and our bed. So
broke and so in love, we believed entire diamond-bright galaxies
revolved around us. How could we have known my six-month
depression was more than homesickness? Ten years later, we
found ourselves in marriage counseling, sitting across from each
other like war generals. I looked at the Nativity set on the end table
where cold, hard, chipped baby Jesus stared at nothing. I stared
back at my husband and said, “I can’t love you anymore.” In spite
of this, he carried me through the day to day realities of child-caregiving,
shopping, cooking, bill-paying, and washing laundry as I lay in bed.
Now, ten more years have passed. What would I do without this man
who wakes me with frothy cappuccinos and stashes chocolate in cases
of emergency? This man who, when I state his life would be better
without me, cups my face in his work-worn hands and replies, ever
gentle, “That’s crazy talk.”

Bio: Becky Armoto received her MA in English from Indiana University and currently lives in Greenwood with her husband, as well as her three teenage sons, whom she home schools. Her work has been published in Flying Island, Tipton Poetry Journal, and genesis.