If you’re a Facebook friend (or acquaintance), you may have noticed I quietly changed my relationship status from “Single” to “In a Relationship” in June. No photo. I did it quietly, in the night, thinking no one would really notice. Alas. Two hundred and forty people noticed. Questions like, “Do tell…?” and “Do we get more details?” surfaced, which I casually ignored, knowing the big reveal would happen soon enough in some way or another.
Why was I so quiet about it? There are a few reasons. I like to be honest with you guys, so I’ll share. Most of you know I got out of a relationship fairly recently (and I’m not a relationship kinda girl. I’ve had, like, three of them, it seems.) Even though that relationship ended very abruptly and crappily, and needed to, I felt like to the outside world it would seem like I was jumping from guy to guy. And since that relationship was born purely out of a desire for baby and family making, I was worried that I would be judged for what seemingly looked like I was jumping from one sperm source to another and that was very much not the case. But, you know, I have my insecurities and I wasn’t writing:
I was writing other stuff. I simply wasn’t ready. But, I felt my boyfriend, who I’ve actually known since 2012, deserved a Facebook-officialness, so I did it in the night.
And, then there’s the part about the former BF (The Indian, for those that are following along). There’s some ickiness there that I’m still working through and in my ruminating mind I worried about him seeing me happy and what ramifications that might cause if I announced, “New Relationship, Live at 7!!”. Pffft. Heavy sigh. (You see why I still have a therapist. And my blog.)
And then there’s the color thing. He’s purple. But in the daylight, he looks white. Just like how I’m actually pink, but to the naked eye, I’m black. This mixing stuff is nothing new to me or my family, but I kept focusing on that for awhile. You already know how I like to focus on what people think (see above), rather than my own happiness. Or how I like to focus on what’s different, rather than what’s the same. I’m over that now, because what’s the same is that we’re both weirdos, and I love that.
And I love him. He knows that, and now you do, too.
And now for one of the many reasons I know this.
This past weekend we took a weekend trip to Chicago. We both share having lived in Chicago in the past, and that’s pretty darn cool. He was reuniting with old work buddies for a charity 16-inch softball game. I was tagging along, NOT playing, ’cause you know, I broke my ankle in June playing softball and I’m still wearing a boot.
So, this softball event was a pretty big deal because he was bringing The Girlfriend (me). I was nervous, he was a little nervous; but, when you have good friends, those kind of nerves dissipate the minute you hug said friends. That is exactly what happened.
We woke really early on game day; got coffee and were scooped by Really Good Friend #1 to make the 9am call time. We were a little late to the game because the coffee got to working and my boyfriend, “M.”, had to … use the bathroom. Badly. If you get my drift. We had to make a pit stop so he could take care of some business. (This is important later.) Really Good Friend #1 and I had some girl-time to get to know each other and solidify that we both loved the guy even in moments like this. The game went well, my dear friend from Luvabulls stopped by to see me and meet M. and the new gang. The next day M. and I went Spacca Napoli for Neopolitan pizza. Yum. We drove by my old apartment, my very first one after college, off Lakeshore Drive and Iriving Park, with Good Friends #3 & #4. That night we date nighted to Frontera Grill for dinner. Great weekend all around.
We had a cute AirBnB in the Lakeview area. The 2Bd/1B was up THREE flights of back, outside stairs, which I had to navigate up and down with my lovely black boot. But I adored the setting, because it reminded me of back-porch parties in Lincoln Park that I went to with my lovely college friend, Anne when we all first moved to Chicago. Inside, the apartment was old, cute and cozy. It was the kind of charming apartment that has vintage brass doorknobs that suffocate stiffly beneath layers and layers of decades’ worth of thick white paint. It was the kind of lived-in space with uneven living-room wood floors that creak with familiarity as you step from the linoleum-floored kitchen with coffee mug in hand. The kind of brightly lit, east-facing apartment with those wide, old-school windows languishing on worn-out runners, that you have to keep propped open with a coffee-table book just to coax in that playful, fleeting summer breeze to ease the sweltering.
It was the kind of Chicago apartment that has so much lovely history. And bad plumbing.
On our last morning, we woke casually with forty-five minutes to kill before leaving for our flight. We were going through our morning ritual. You know the one, where you shit, shower and shave. Well, the shower had been running “summer camp” cold the entire weekend, so a shower and shave were out. That left the other “S”. As M. crawled out of the bed, I’d said, “Make sure you hurry because I have to go, too.” M. likes to lollygag and have a peaceful time in there; reads Pride and Prejudice on his phone. I think he meditates, plans his next four years of life, you know, takes his time.
The night before, we had met up with one of his college friends and his wife. Good Friends #7 & #8. With twenty years’ worth of friendship, the laughs and hugs were plentiful over that insane Cubs grand slam walk-off (!); local craft beer, chicken wings, french fries, burgers…you know, heavy Chicago food. That doesn’t digest well.
I was lying in bed. Not relaxed. My stomach was bubbling. Not happy. I was turning from side to side, moaning a bit, because I had to go! I grab my phone.
No response. I stand and I lean over the bed on my elbows, like the pregnant ladies in labor do. I’m trying not to think about it. Really trying hard, but like the pregnant ladies in labor do, I CAN’T. I send another message; this time on FB messenger.
I put on some clothes and run/walk to the bathroom, through the linoleum, over the creaking wood. In the heat of the rising sun. I knock and enter.
Matthew was standing there. His face…his face was ashen. Solemn. Perplexed. The plunger dangled from his hand. He slapped his leg and pointed. I looked to where he was pointing.
I shout, “OH MY GOD!!”
The commode was filled to the rim, with Brim. If you get my visual drift. With little bits of logs and debris. Like ready to overflow with one more approach. He says, “I don’t know what else to do!”
I was like, “What the hell happened?!” But I knew. Shit happened. (Later we got a message from the host that the toilet can “back up sometimes” and that a plumber was on the way for the cold water. Um. Yeah. #toolate)
Now, it’s one thing when this happens at home. Alone. It’s entirely another when you’re at a stranger’s house, dripped in sweat from heat and poop pain and mounds of (sorta new couple) embarrassment. But the best part about it? We were in it together.
I reached for the plunger. He shouted, “NO!” His look told me we were dealing with a real shit show here, like a bomb was going to explode if we stepped off a broken tile, or crossed a yellow wire or plunged just one.more.time.
I panicked. (He’d already panicked.) There was no way I was gonna make it. No way I could wait for that to go down, or do anything else it wanted to do. I started pacing, maybe whimpering.
His says to me gravely, “Do you think you can make it to Starbucks?”
- I was still proudly boycotting Starbucks from the May racial incident with the Philly guys who, were what? arrested for using the bathroom, and now I was going to have to run to fucking Starbucks to use the bathroom?
- Starbucks was 3 very long blocks away, down 3 long painful flights of stairs. In a boot.
- I went to Starbucks.
I never hopped skipped and jumped so fast in my life. I thought I literally was going to die. I thought I was going to pass out in the streets of Chicago where M. would find me, death by shit. I ran into the Starbucks. I prayed the rumors were true that all locks and codes had been removed from the bathroom doors. I prayed that I wouldn’t be stopped with a “Miss…?!” because I’d have to get arrested too. I prayed that in my flash entry, under the yellow glow of the coffee shop halogens, I looked pink.
I made it. Somehow. I emerged a new woman. And I know you know what I mean.
A short while later, M. joined me with all our bags in hand. I’d waited for him with two coffees in hand. (I was Starbucks torn: do I say an F-You and not buy coffee and just blow up the bathroom, or do I not be some sort of a hypocrite – I don’t know what kind – and just buy the darn coffee? I decided to Do The Right Thing.)
We were finally relieved. With the Uber ordered, all was right with the world again. Almost. Because for two seconds I cared what the AirBnB person was going to think of us. I let that go real quick. And looked to my partner-in-crime, who looked like he could give two flying figs about the whole thing. (Someone I can learn from.) Heavy (happy) sigh.
You know … M. had been asking, “Hey, when am I going to make the blog…?” Well. Here’s my boyfriend, he’s blog-official, and so much more.