What does that even mean? After eight years together, what does that mean?
“Well, I was when I first met Jen, and of course when I met you,” I said.
“Maybe you were just manic,” he said.
Maybe I was. Maybe I have never ever experienced happy. But the implicit criticism is, I think, that Ben has lost eight years of his life with someone incapable of being happy. That he has been continually dragged down by me and my illness. I want to say, have you ever been healthy? Have you ever been able to visit a museum with me? (He has chronic illnesses and is unwilling to use a wheelchair.) No, it’s not acceptable to criticize physical illness. Unthinkable.
But this is more than the details of a marital fight. It is an indictment of being unhappy: It is saying that not being happy makes you somehow less of a human.
I have had moments of happy. I was very happy lying on the beach watching a storm of shooting stars with my buds. I was very happy eating black olives sitting on the stoop with Lisa. I was happy kicking around castles in Czechoslovakia. No, I haven’t been happy recently. I need to be happy once in a while again.