~Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Dog Fork

"I don't know what to get my father for Father's Day," I said lazily while lying on top of Abraham's bed. Kickball would start within the hour, and we were spending a few minutes spooning after work but before the game.

"I thought I was his Father's Day gift," he responded innocently.

I obediently go to my father's house every year for the day. This time my father said more than once that Abraham was invited. It sounded less like a request and more like, "It's time, Sarah." Because Abraham met my mother two weeks prior, he may as well get it all over with.

I kissed Abraham for his sweet remark. "Happy Father's Day, dad. You never have to move me from apartment to apartment again."

"Uh, wait a minute. There are movers for that," he sulked.


There seemed to be a contest between my parents over who knew the most about Abraham. Hands down the winner is my mother, who hears about the routine day-to-day stuff and has picked up on the amount of time we spend together.

My father told my mother that he was meeting Abraham.

"He's nice. You'll have a good time," my mother said smugly.

"You met him?"

"A couple of weeks ago."

My father was quiet. I think he was hurt.


Abraham wasn't as nervous meeting my father as he was my mother. Maybe it's because he knows I talk to my mom multiple times a day and I talk to my father once every couple of weeks. Maybe it's because he already has one parent under his belt. Maybe it's because when he asked which beer to buy to gift my father, I told him he prefers cheap stuff.

As we got out of the car, I heard my step-mother call excitedly, "They're here!"

I opened the back seat and the Femme Fatale hopped out and joined her doggy pals in the backyard. My father was in the swimming pool. It's difficult to be nervous when you're shaking hands with someone who is wet and shirtless. He also speaks in a thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent, a product of his upbringing. "Water" sounds like "wart." "Garage" sounds like "crotch." Abraham immediately picked up on some of the words I say, mainly the funny sounding ones. "Nudge" to mean a person who is an annoyance and "schtauby" to mean "drunk."

My father immediately got us beer and coozies. We sat around one of the patio tables, and they regaled us about the party they had yesterday with all of my step-siblings. They asked Abraham simple questions that they didn't already know: what he did, how long he worked there, where he lived, etc. Abraham provided the exact opposite answer S would have given for every question. Abraham is sure-footed and stable. I hope my parents noticed the difference.

As the sun heated our skin, we too changed for the pool. The Femme Fatale was already standing in a large fountain, which she prefers to the swimming pool. She walked circles around the bottom tier and drank as she cooled off.

I had a brand new float I bought for the summer. It's a raft that holds cups for beer pong, so you can play in the swimming pool. Abraham and I inflated the float and played as my father and step-mother watched, bewildered at the game.

They brought out the leftovers from the party the night before: ribs.

"Is this pork?" I asked my step-mother.

"Yes. And this is chicken," she said, pointing to the other barbequed meat.

I never thought eating kosher would be a big deal. I don't even consider myself a big pork eater, but it seems to be everywhere when you're trying to avoid it. I took the pork ribs so there would be enough chicken left for Abraham to eat. I didn't know which way my parents would go. My father took the pork. My step-mom took the chicken.

We sat at the outside dining table near the Femme Fatale and her fountain. I ate half my ribs before I cut up the rest and called her over. She sat obediently as I fed her the pork.

"I can't believe you're using your fork," my father said, less than pleased.

For the record, it was a plastic fork and paper plate. We were not high dining like we had at my mother's. The Femme Fatale gingerly accepted each cut of meat off the plastic fork.

"See? She's good with a fork, and I don't have to get dog saliva on me."

"That only leads me to believe you've done this before," he said dryly.

We finished eating. I became aware of all the summer mosquitos stinging my legs.

"Rub a dryer sheet on your skin," my step-mom advised. "It'll coat you, and you'll smell like Downey."

I went inside to try her home remedy (which worked, by the way). I brought a pie out with me to the table and cut a slice for everyone.

Halfway into my pie Abraham said quietly, "Is that the dog fork?"

It was. I forgot about it when I got stung so badly and went inside for relief. I was eating the pie with the dog fork. I solemnly put the dog fork down and picked up a new one. The table erupted in laughter.

"I really had a good time," Abraham said in the car.


"It was more relaxed than your mother's."

"Well, she's proper."

"I know."

"She doesn't say 'poop' you know. Or 'crap.'"

What does she say?" he asked, amused.

"Jobee. She'd call me and yell that the dog left a jobee on the carpet."

He snickered. I joined him. I have a feeling that 'jobee' may also be Pennsylvania Dutch, but the customs in which my Yankee parents grew up is so far removed from my Southern upbringing.

"She says 'heinie' instead of 'butt.'" I added for good measure.

"So 'heinie' and 'jobee?'"


"That's worse than the dog fork."

~Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Love You

"I love you."

This wasn't how I planned it.

I had planned it so that we would be away at the beach for the weekend. It would be our first solo weekend away. And I would take him to the dock at night to look at the stars, and I would turn around and face him and tell him that I love him. He would, of course, tell me he loved me back and we would kiss passionately.

But then I began thinking. Although stargazing is fantastic at the beach house, the reason that it's so great is because it's so dark out. As in, I wouldn't be able to see his face. I could shine a flashlight at him, but, well, that feels like an interrogation.

We had just finished having dinner at one of my favorite restaurants on the water. Abe had burned himself on the jalapeno poppers. We were unwashed for dinner because the electricity was out on the island. Someone reported a tree hit a power line, and we had been without air conditioning and me without a flat iron. So we sat on the dock in our sticky sweat and watched the sun set. The Femme Fatale had barfed about 10 minutes ago. The second time that day.

The sunset was beautiful. Orange and pink had taken over the sky as the sun disappeared behind a neighboring island. It was now dusk. Pinks turned into purples turned into the navy blue of night.

I could do it now, I thought. It's what I came here to do, and I can still see him.

"I love you."

Abraham gasped in surprise. "You said it."

"I did."

He leaned forward and spoke very clinically, very logically. "What have to have a short chat."

Oh no.

"I've never said those words to a girl. How do you know if you love someone?"

I didn't have an answer. As of the retelling, I have all sorts of funny, quip-py responses, but in the moment I was dumbstruck. I was in an extremely vulnerable place emotionally, and I did not expect to have to explain myself.

"Because I think it to myself about 20 times a day."

"That you love yourself?"

"No, that I love you," I shrugged.

He kissed my forehead in response. The dog howled. "You're ruining our moment," he told her.

"I wish I could explain it better, but it's just something that I know. It's a blind faith."

"Then I probably love you too."

"Have you not thought about it?" I asked.

"Not really."

I looked away in embarrassment. Maybe I made up the Morse code and saw what I wanted in it. Maybe I projected my feelings onto him.

Abraham corrected himself. "No, I knew this was coming."

It took Abraham about three minutes to go through the stages of acceptance.

"If I was a betting man, I would say yes," he added a minute later.

Then he lifted a finger to my cheek and titled my head toward him. "I love you too."

I had been listening to him search himself for the last few minutes. Until the final "I love you too," he had been speaking mostly to himself, or at least as if I hadn't been there.

"You don't have to say it back if you're not ready."

"No, I know you. I know that would kill you."

I looked over his shoulder and gasped. "Abraham, look!"

Behind us shone the lights from the backs of the houses. Power had been restored after a 5-hour blackout.

"I'm going to take that as a sign." He stood up and pulled me with him and kissed me. "You're my first love," he said.

He loves me.

~Friday, June 22, 2012

Morse Code

After being subjected to all of the baseball in the College World Series, I got my retribution in the form of Say Yes to the Dress and Drop Dead Diva.

"What happened to 'I just want to be with you?'" Abraham attempted.

It's what I said at somewhere in the middle of our relationship when he said he wanted to watch a hockey game. He had cooed and kissed me. And I meant it at the time. But football turned into hockey turned into March Madness turned into College World Series. I had picked a bad rental from Redbox a couple of times, but he's never sat through a single 16 and Pregnant. I wanted payback.

It was hilarious, if not a little awkward, watching Say Yes to the Dress with Abraham, a show about picking out wedding dresses. When he made a comment like "That dress is so ugly," I would melt into a fit of giggles.

I took the time to explain the difference between the New York show and the Atlanta show and how much better the Atlanta show was. The dresses aren't as gaudy in the South, nor are they as expensive, but, oh my goodness, the couples in Atlanta are so young. In New York, you can tell who is marrying for money.

Abraham made the comment that he wished the show would air all of the weddings of the girls who picked out dresses. I died.

Drop Dead Diva is a charming little show on Lifetime. It chronicles a skinny model trapped in a chubby attorney's body. It has near tear-jerking story lines and cute clothes.

I forced him to watch it after the third College World Series baseball game of the weekend. We were entangled on the couch. My feet between his calves. My hand on his thigh.

During the episode, the lawyer tells the sister of her boyfriend that she loves him. He was unexpectedly standing behind her.

"You love me?" he said.

And, ugh, and when he said that on the TV, I swiped my thumb across Abraham's thigh. It was an unconscious but deliberate act of affection. I realized what I did at the exact moment of the TV I love you, so I tried to make up for it by continuing to caress his skin, like stumbling and turning it into a jog.

"I love you too, and I love that you said it first," the boyfriend on TV continued.

Abraham tapped my stomach with his finger four times, just as deliberately as my thumb swipe.

My heart skipped a beat. He knew what I did and he reciprocated. In jury-rigged Morse code no less. It makes me less afraid of telling him how I feel.

Which will be this weekend I decided.

~Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Mothers, Part II

"I have to go see my mom sometime this weekend," I told Abraham. "She needs me to hook up her Internet. I can go Saturday or Sunday, which day do you prefer I go?"

"Do you need a hero?" he asked.

I completely did not pick up on what he was offering.

"What? No. I know how to set up the Internet. I did it at my apartment," I said simply.

"Yeah, and I've seen your cable box. I better go and do it."

The cable box he referenced is sitting unplugged in my bedroom, just like it has been for the last 3 years. I've never had cable in my bedroom. The box just won't work.

Then it occurred to me what he was saying. Not only would he do a task that I find annoying, he would be meeting my mother. We had talked about being ready to meet my parents, but the conversation never went further than that. He initiated that step on his own.

As I understood what he was saying, my smile took up my entire face.

"I've never seen you smile that big," he said. Abraham played it off, sighing and acting like being a hero is everyday minutia to him. I just faced him and beamed until he kissed me.


"So, Abraham is going to come this weekend and set up your Internet for you," I said nonchalantly to my mother.

"Okay, good," she replied. She paused on the phone. "Wait, does this mean I get to meet him?"


My mother was giddy. She had been hearing about him since last November. She knew I was talking about him openly in a way I hadn't with the previous boys.

"I'll make shrimp and capers," she immediately planned.

"Mom! He's Jewish! He can't eat shrimp."

"No shrimp?"


"What about crab, mussels or scallops?"

"No, no and no."

"What can he eat?"

"Just stick with chicken. We eat lots of chicken."


Abraham was quiet on the drive over. At first I thought he was just grumbling about my musical taste, but then he leaned back the passenger seat and closed his eyes.

"Are you tired?" I asked.


"Is this the first time you've ever met the parents?"


He was nervous. He was so nervous that he was shaken up. I put my hand on his knee.

"Seriously, I've set the bar so low with previous boyfriends that you'll do great."

He gasped when I drove up the driveway. It's an intimidating property when you aren't used to it. The Femme Fatale nosed the front door open and ran inside as she is custom to doing. I heard my mom get up from the living room. When she saw Abraham, she immediately hugged him.

I was taken aback. My mother is a very proper person and I'm not used to her hugging anyone when she meets them. This was a first. She took us into the kitchen and immediately produced a cheese plate and drinks.

"What would you like to drink, Abraham? I have water, tea, Coke and Yuengling."

"Tea, please," he said.

"What?!" I balked. "I've never seen you drink tea in your life. Have a beer."

"I'm not having a beer as soon as I meet your mom," he said in front of us.

"I think if there's a time to have a beer, it's when you meet my mom," I retorted.

He remained decisive and kept his tea. We weren't two sips in before she produced an already made batch of frozen margaritas. If there's ever a time for my mom to drink tequila, it's when she meets my boyfriend.

We headed to her patio with the cheese and margaritas. Our teas were already forgotten in the kitchen. As soon as we sit down, my mother brings up Abraham's serious medical condition he had years ago. I guess my mother is nervous too.

Of course I'm not helpful during any of this. I'm the only one not nervous. In the car I had pointed out that Abraham had never met parents before, and in the kitchen I noted that Abraham doesn't drink tea. I nudge Abraham when my mother immediately brought up the medical thing he doesn't like to advertise.

We went upstairs and set up her Internet. Abraham also had to create all her passwords and explain what a Gmail account is. He connected her laptop to the network, knowing she would never figure it out herself. I sipped my margarita and watched.

Then my mother prepared dinner. She made chicken fajitas. As is her habit, she made entirely too much food for three people. She made three courses. She lit candlesticks.

"This is our first candlelit dinner," Abraham remarked. "With your mother."

My mother was not a very good parent. She didn't grill Abraham. No "What are your intentions with my daughter?" No "What are your feelings about recreational drugs?" Of course, she already grilled me when I initially told her about him. We were driving to the beach for Thanksgiving Day—just the two of us—and hour three into a five-hour drive, we ran out of things to talk about.

"I'm seeing a boy," I said simply.

"What?" she paused and the words sank in. "Who, what when, where?" she rapid fired.

So she already knows the whos, whats, whens and wheres. Conversation around the dinner table was of our party we were headed to after we left her house and other present-day activities.

We left her house three hours after we arrived. Short and sweet.

I called my mom the next day.

"So, did he like me?" my mom asked.

I groaned. My mother is more concerned about Abraham's feelings about her than her feelings about Abraham.

"He's quiet," she finally said. "So there isn't too much to judge. It was nice to meet a man who was himself and didn't feel the need to impress you with his accomplishments."

And that's all she had to say about that.

~Monday, June 18, 2012

Team up

I was talking with one of Abraham's teammates from his other kickball league. It's not uncommon for people to play on multiple leagues. I had played on two myself last season.

He told me his teammates scolded him for not bringing me to the games.

"I sort of thought that was you doing your own thing with your friends," I said.

"No, I want you there."

That's the difference between Abraham and all of the boyfriends. He wants me with him. While he's out with his friends, while he watches sports. My presence is not a hindrance or a burden.

I offer to go home if perhaps I thought I spent too many nights at his place, if my geriatric dog has too many accidents, or if the game is on. He always tells me he wants me with him.

So I was at his game and talking to one of his teammates.

"How long have you been together?" she asked.

"About eight months."

"Have you guys talked about living together yet?"

"No. We're not there yet and I'm not sure that's something I'm interested in doing." I left out the part where I did that before and it was such a monumental disaster.

"Yeah, I don't want to live together before marriage either," she said. "Have you said the I love yous yet?"

"Nope. We're still waiting on that too."

"That's so refreshing," she commented. "To hear about a couple taking their time. It seems like everyone is in such a rush."

I beamed with pride. It felt good to hear I was doing something right.

~Thursday, June 14, 2012

A First Date

Abraham and I had perfected our bar order: one plate of hot wings, one plate of tater tots and a side of queso for the tots, split between the two of us.

"Can I get you anything else?" said our bartender dryly. "A salad?"

Abraham pointed to the leaves of lettuce that the wings were displayed upon. "It's right here," he joked.

I grabbed a wing and he grabbed a tot. I'd eaten like a mouse during the week leading up to this so I could calorically afford this meal. I dared Abraham to dip a wing in the queso. He obeyed but said it wasn't life changing. I was disappointed.

The girl sitting adjacent to me quickly grabbed my attention. For starters, it was 7 p.m. on a Wednesday and this girl was drunk. Laughing too loudly, falling over, slurring her words drunk.

She was pretty. She was a petite girl of Indian descent. Her black hair hung in dramatic, loose waves. She paired heavy eye makeup with a tunic and jeans. She was dressed purposefully; she didn't come to the bar on a whim.

She announced she was drunk and then ordered another round of shots for herself and the boy with whom she was sitting. I could tell by the nature of their questions that they didn't know each other. I wondered if this was their first meeting offline. Match.com probably. Or maybe OK Cupid.

He was testing her with bad flirting. "Do you want to kick me in the balls?" he asked her after she seemed annoyed, presumably at whatever he said before the ball-kicking question.

"You can buy me shots, but you can't flirt with me," she slurred.

I raised an eyebrow at Abraham. This was getting interesting. Despite the hot wing and queso combination not being revolutionary, he was now dipping each wing into queso and then into ranch dressing.

"Do you think this is a first date?" I asked him.

"I've seen her around here. Usually she's just like this," he gestured.

The girl got up from her bar stool and zig-zagged to the bathroom.

An older man appeared at the bar and began asking her date about her. "Whatever you do," he advised the date, "Don't buy her shots."

"It's too late. We've already had two." He listed the shots at the old man's request.

By this point I had my back to Abraham and was fully engulfed in this conversation. "Is this a first date?" I blurted.

"It's not anything," he replied quickly. "I'm making an ass out of myself."

"You're not making an ass out of yourself," I consoled.

"I am. I'm engaged. We're just hanging out."

My instinct said he was lying. He lied about being engaged because he was so embarrassed to be in this scenario where regulars at this bar are warning him about this drunk girl. He didn't want to be rejected.

He looked to be in his late twenties, dressed in a crisp blue-striped button down. When he and his "date" were talking, they faced each other with their shoulders angled toward each other. Body language insinuated that this was more than nothing.

He then got the bartender's attention and ordered two more shots. "Fuck it," he said, going against the old man's advice. "She wants to kick me in the balls anyway."

The girl had been absent from the bar for quite awhile. Long enough for Abraham and I to finish our wings. I had also finished my beer and moved on to his. Had her keys and cigarettes not been left on the bar, I would have thought she snuck out through the back.

She returned to her "date" and the two shots waiting for her.

"I didn't order them!" he said, feigning shock. "They came from the happy couple."

I turned around and counted the rest of the patrons lining the bar. Abraham and I were the only pairing. We were the happy couple!

"They didn't know we were together," he continued. "I mean, not together," he corrected.

Mmmhmm. I added his slip up to the column that he was lying. At the very least, he lied about the origin of the shots. But he seemed too caught up in her drunken regard of him to be engaged. He pressed her to see how far he could get with her. He was putting on an act for the regulars that he didn't care about her.

I was turned off by the whole scenario. Shame on her for being that drunk, so habitually drunk that people are warning strangers about her. Shame on him. Shame on him for lying and for buying her more shots. He was playing with her like a toy to see how far she could go. How drunk and riled up she could get.

Who do you think is wrong in this scenario?

~Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Mothers, Part I

Flashback to Abraham's cruise with his parents:

Mother: So who is picking you up from the airport?
Abe: My girlfriend.
Mother: Haha, that's a good one.

She thought he was joking. Abraham had never talked about his love life with his parents ever, so it seemed natural that he was just making a funny.

He decided to have fun with his mother's disbelief, referring to me as Al the entire cruise. He stopped at a booth that sends short video postcards to people back home. "Hold on, I'm going to send a video to Al," he told them. Or "It's Al's birthday today."

At the last dinner on the last night, he revealed to his parents that Al was indeed his real, live girlfriend. As their faces lit up, he limited them to five questions about Al.

Abraham and I had a bet as to when the question "Is she Jewish?" would appear. Abraham won. It wasn't the first question. For the record it was number three:

How old is she?
What does she do?
Is she Jewish?

In short they were elated. They didn't care that I wasn't Jewish; they were happy that he was with someone who made him him happy.

Abraham was nervous throughout the conversation, never having done this before. When he hesitated after they asked my name, they threatened that they were going to drive through the South until they found me. So he gave them my name. And then the mother friend requested me as soon as she got off the boat.

I paused as I saw the invite on my phone. Then I took a screen capture and messaged it to Abraham.

Abraham was livid. Apparently he had already spoken to his mother about inappropriate friendships on Facebook. The rule is she has to have met one of his friends in person to send a request. We clearly have never met.

He told me to ignore it. I called my own mother for advice, and she warned me to not accept it. Instead I ignored both of them.

I did a cursory glance through all my photos to be sure they were mother appropriate, and then I accepted. For good measure I also sent her a short message saying it was nice to finally meet her and that Abraham spoke well of his family.

Abraham begged me to unfriend her.

"I don't know a lot about being Jewish," I retorted. "But I know one thing."

"Don't piss off the mother," we both said in unison.

Instead he went to work on his mother, eventually getting her to acquiesce and unfriend me a few days later.

However, whenever they call they always tell Abraham, "Say hello to Al for us."

~Monday, June 11, 2012

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~Friday, June 08, 2012


I had brought my birthday bottle of gin with me to the beach for Memorial Day to share with his friends. We polished it off except for one or two drinks, so I carted my near-empty bottle home with me where I conveniently stashed it at Abraham's place.

Yesterday I was standing in his house and I looked at my sad bottle of gin on his table. Next to it was another bottle of gin. I crossed over to the table and picked up the larger of the two bottles, thinking that was my birthday bottle; however, it was still sealed. The smaller of the two bottles was my birthday bottle. I looked at Abraham, confused.

He chuckled, "I bought that the day after we got back from the beach. I was wondering how long it would take you to notice it."

Abraham doesn't drink gin.

I did the only thing I could do after I'd been completely upstaged in kindness. I threw myself into his arms, placing all my weight into him so he had to hold me up, and kissed him. His bottle of vodka was also drunk by his friends at the beach, and all I had said at time was HOW SAD FOR YOU. It never even occurred to me to do something nice for him. I am so undeserving of him.

The previous night we sat at our local bar and ate a dinner of appetizers while watching the hockey game. During commercial I rested my hand across the back of his shoulders and said, "I'm so happy to be with you."

"You did good," he replied.

"No, I did excellent."

~Thursday, June 07, 2012

A list

Things Abraham has given me permission to keep at his house:

Things I have since "snuck" in:
  • A robe, so as to not flash his roommate
  • Pajama bottoms, because sometimes a girl just needs an elastic waistband
  • 2 bottles of travel-size shampoo and conditioner, in his shower
  • A bottle of mandarin orange scented moisturizer
  • Floss, because I don't like his brand
  • About 20 pony-tail holders and associated clips
  • Deodorant, left stealthily in the bathroom drawer he doesn't use
  • A bag of dark chocolate peanut m&ms
  • A bottle of gin
  • A bottle of vodka
  • Lime juice and tonic water
  • A blanket for the Femme Fatale to sleep on
  • A water bowl for her to drink out of at night
  • A super-absorbent towel to clean up her accidents from all that water 
  • Dog food to soak up some of that water
  • Dog biscuits as a treat when she actually makes it outside
  • One dog diaper, don't ask

~Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Are you single?

"What do you say when someone asks if you're single?" Abraham's roommate asked me.

"Depends on who's asking," I replied.

"Hey!" cried Abraham.

"Well if it's the IRS or the government asking, I'm single," I explained.

"Right," she answered. "There's no box for dating."

She went on to explain that there isn't a box for dating, and unless you're married, you're still single. She doesn't apply this just to taxation purposes; she applies this to her entire life. She has a boyfriend, but if anyone asks, she's single.

"I'm single until there's a ring on my finger."

Her boyfriend doesn't entirely agree with this notion.

She says she single to the extent that she'll keep looking until she walks down the aisle. This doesn't mean she'll date other people while she's with her boyfriend; I think it means she's got a wandering eye. It certainly keeps her boyfriend on his toes.

I would rather be fully invested in the relationship: to take the relationship as far as it can go, and then look elsewhere if it didn't work out. It feels disloyal and disingenuous conduct myself otherwise.

While I disagree to the degree in which she declares herself single, I do consider myself single. She's right. I'm not married. Employers, doctors, bankers: there isn't a box for dating.

Are you single? To what extent?


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