~Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Year One

"Happy eve of our anniversary," Abraham murmured as he drifted to sleep.

I love how confident Abraham has become over the past year. In the beginning he had a wall built of shyness and insecurity. He's done a complete 180. I watch him with a bit of out-of-body experience as he reaches for my hand or kisses me in public, a rule he has since withdrawn. He could not be more comfortable with me and our relationship. I feel the same way, but I had an easier time with it.

"Can you believe that the roommate and her boyfriend still haven't said 'I love you'? They've been together nine months!" Abraham once said smugly.

"Oh yeah, because you handled that real well," I smirked. "I guess they're not moving in together if they haven't said it yet."

The next night we were snuggled up on the couch watching a concert of a performer we both love. Abraham disrupted the snuggling and the blankets by getting up.

"Unh!" I cried.

"Sorry! Time to switch the laundry!"

He disappeared and I kept watching the concert. Abraham returned and knelt on the floor with a single red rose.

"It's midnight. Happy anniversary."

A year has passed since I spent that horrible first night throwing up in his bathroom. When Abraham heard how all of my friends got together (which includes a story of one guy peeing in the corner of a girl's room), he felt much better about the bathroom yakking. I, naturally, backdated our relationship to that night as a way to smooth over my indiscretions.

"Awww!" This is the confidence of him that I love. "When did you have time to get this?"

"When you were out at Book Club." He handed me a card. The A's in Sarah were replaced with sappy hearts. The card itself was light and funny, which is what I expect from him, but underneath he had written that this had been the best year of his life. I was touched. I didn't know he felt that way.

I was also caught with my pants down. It was officially our anniversary and I didn't have anything for him. I was going to handle that in the morning.

Morning came and Abraham got up with the alarm. I rolled over and snuggled in his space in the pillow. I had taken a much-needed week off work. Abraham left the room and returned with an entire bouquet of flowers.

"Awww, why are you so nice?" I cried. Once again, my pants were down as it had only been eight hours since the last giving of flowers. We made plans to meet for lunch.

I found a Hallmark Gold Crown store. Cards are difficult for relationships. We're not married, so most anniversary cards don't apply. I did find a small section labeled Love, which seemed to fit better. I picked up a card that read "Beer drinkers make better lovers" and knew I was done.

In my apartment I located a map of North America I had received randomly in the mail and had kept. I drew a heart on every city we had visited together, which was quite a few. I folded the map and put it in the card. I didn't know what he was doing for a gift, so I gambled and wrote in the card that I would get him Green Day's Uno, Dos and Tre when they become available: his favorite band.

Then I drove to my mother's house and picked up a signed, framed poster of our favorite local singer whose concert we were watching the previous night and hung it in his room on loan.

He loved the card, map and upcoming CDs. He chided me for storing signed band posters at my mother's house.

"I ordered something for you, but it isn't here yet," he disclosed.

"You've already done so much," I said.

We went out to dinner, hibachi at my request. Unfortunately we were seated next to America's Worst Family: a man with his four children and his new, younger girlfriend. Abraham and I completed the table of eight. The children were either texting on their phones or calling their mommy. When they weren't doing that, they were sneering at the girlfriend. The father was oblivious, playing on his own phone.

The hibachi chef was frustrated, trying to put a show on for eight with only Abraham and I watching. I was horrified at the kid's treatment of the girlfriend and her response to them as well. She'd get caught up in their taunting instead of taking the high road. By the end of the meal, she put her head in her hands, close to tears.

I grabbed her arm. "Are you okay? Those kids were really rude to you."

She looked at me wide-eyed and then to the father. "DID YOU HEAR THAT?! SHE SAID YOUR KIDS WERE MEAN TO ME."

I leaned to Abraham, "We have to leave. Now."

He got up from the table. The father made eye contact with me and I just shrugged like an asshole. She was supposed to do that in the car, not when I was sitting there. Unfortunately the father was oblivious to the whole scene as he was on his phone and didn't see anything that was happening. When she initially complained to him and asked him for help, he acted like she was crazy, which is why I said something in the first place.

"Would you like some of my birthday cake?" he simply offered, still ignoring the situation.

"No, we're leaving." Abraham said. "Happy birthday."

Abraham wanted to go back to our bar for after-dinner drinks, the spot where we first spoke. The place we eat dinner at once a week.

I shuffled through my new purse. I didn't have my ID. It was in the bag I just changed. I pleaded with the doorman. I'm 31; I don't look 21. He said if someone inside could vouch for me, then I could get in. Abraham went inside a grabbed a manager who said it was okay. But inside the bartender refused to serve me and then security came and got me and escorted me out of the bar.

I got escorted out of a bar for not having my ID. At 31 years of age. At my regular bar. On my one-year anniversary. Ugh.

I hated feeling the shame like I did something wrong. Instead we went into the bar next door, owned by the same people as the bar that removed me. The security guy kept watching me drink through the window. Fuck him. We had one drink and left.

Abraham didn't drive the normal way home from the bar. He took the back way.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"Cops," he explained.

He drove to the spot where we first kissed behind the bar and stopped the car. "You believed me, didn't you?" he smiled.

He opened my car door and pulled me to the spot: next to the dumpster behind the bar. He kissed me. We made out. I knocked teeth with him again.

"It really was the best year of your life?" I asked.

"Yes. Do you think we can make next year any better?"

"It'll be hard, but we can try."

~Monday, September 24, 2012

Observances of my first Rosh Hashanah

  • You can accidentally refer to it as church about 6 times and no one will correct you.
  • At the dinner table someone said this and I got so excited I reached over and slapped Abraham. I got this one: 
"May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace."
  • So... they also say Lord?
  • Also I saw a reference to Satan in the hymn book thing.
  • Actually the temple service wasn't that different than church.
  • The singing was pretty.
  • Although I would have appreciated the Hebrew to be spelled phonetically, so I could at least pretend to follow along.
  • Every time they did something that I didn't know about, I got really panicked.
  • For instance, someone really should have warned me that a man was going to blow into a ram's horn and it makes a terrifying, terrifying sound.
  • They took bets on how long the horn lasted.
  • It lasted 11 frightening seconds.
  • I asked what to wear to temple. I was told to wear the same thing I would wear to work, so I wore a green dress, pink belt and nude pumps. I looked nice. I even got Abe to approve the dress.
  • Everyone in temple wore black. I looked like a damn crayon.
  • With the green dress and my straight hair, I felt like I really didn't fit in.
  • People talk in temple. Like people will turn around and have conversations with each other while the service is going on. This is not the same as church.
  • Actually, they even keep the doors to the temple open so you can come and go as you please during the service. We got there at 10:00 and walked out randomly at 1:30.
  • They also don't do that at church.
  • I was warned about gefilte fish (Abe called it the hot dog of the sea and didn't touch it), and I was told I didn't have to eat it, but I liked it.
  • I, however, did not like fake chopped liver. It's hard to go there after knowing the real thing.
  • Jewish history started with a couple named Abraham and Sarah.

~Thursday, September 13, 2012

Home is wherever I'm with you

"In hindsight you signing another year's lease wasn't the best idea," Abraham admitted.

We were setting up the Femme Fatale's standing dog bowls in his kitchen, which I had brought from my apartment at his request. "Now she's all moved in," he had smiled.

It's my stuff that isn't moved in. He hasn't said so explicitly, but I imagine I could move in any time I wanted.

"I guess you'd have to put some things in storage," he said.

"You're funny. We're just getting rid of your things," I patted his shoulder.

I don't regret signing the lease, even though the new lease doesn't even take effect until November and then will go another year. I need a place to live. I need a spot for my life and for my dirty underwear, even if most nights my intown apartment is unoccupied because I'm sleeping in the suburbs. After everything I've been through, I need a place that is mine until we've finalized an ours. Signing a 6-month lease would have been more expensive and would have given us a deadline. With a year's lease, I don't feel any pressure.

Abraham said I could live with him and his roommate, but I've read enough advice columns on the Internet to know that three's a crowd. She's been there less than a year and I'm not going to kick her out of her home.

"She just got a raise; maybe she'll get her own place," he offered.

"I doubt it. She's also in a serious relationship and she's probably waiting him out like me. I was supposed to buy a house this year, remember?"

"You're welcome. I just saved you over a hundred thousand dollars. But yeah, I see your point."

Maybe I'd be more decisive about my timeline if I knew the roommate's. But then again, it seems silly to put my relationship on hold for her. Abraham and I have been together longer and are more serious. She's had the serious talks in her relationship, she's perhaps had more (her boyfriend once said that her getting pregnant wouldn't be a terrible thing), but Abraham and I have had more action. We've said the I love yous and have spent purposeful time with each other's parents. Besides, maybe she is aware of this and is waiting on us to move in together as an excuse for her to move into her boyfriend's house. Maybe she also knows three is a crowd.

"Maybe you could sublet your place," Abraham offered.

I'm not really comfortable letting someone else live in my apartment, mainly because I'd be responsible for any damage he/she does.

"Katie's boyfriend broke his lease to move in with her. He had to pay $1,800, but then again, that's two months' rent. I'm not sure how I feel about that," I muttered.

"Well let's say your rent is $1,000 a month. That's $12,000 a year. You'd pay $4,000 to move out, but you'd be saving $8,000 in the long run."

I whimpered at the amounts. I'd hate theoretically paying $4,000 just to not live in my home anymore. I hate wasting money, but I'd rather waste it than rush into living together.

I'm not in a hurry. Maybe because I know it will happen eventually, so I don't feel the need to jump through hoops to make it happen. Maybe I'm still a little shell shocked about the last time I lived with a boy. Maybe I just want to wait until I'm engaged and have more security than I did last time.

~Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Come What May

So. What now?

Is this how it's done? Do people make decisions about this, or is it something that comes quietly and naturally without any great notice? I have a feeling in my case it was both, but that was the moment I cognitively recognized I'm done dating.

My initial feeling was panic. I feel like I made this big life decision and my parents had only met the guy like 2 or 3 times each. If they lived farther than 45 minutes away, then this would be acceptable. But they live in the metro area! That is an unacceptable amount of times! And Abe has yet to go to guys' night with my friends to get to know them better. Panic!

But it's not like things have stopped progressing. Abraham is spending Thanksgiving with me and my two families, so he'll log in some holiday time with them. He's also agreed to spend his very first Christmas with us after I spend some days up North celebrating Hanukkah. So by the year's end we'll have met the extended families, including Bubbie.

Then there's my apartment. I just signed another year's lease that will keep me there until November of next year, so I have that reining me in.

"I think I'm ready for an upgrade for a washer and dryer," Abraham announced as he was folding laundry.

"No. Don't do anything yet," I ordered.


"Because..." I faltered once I realized where I was going with this.

"Why?" he prodded.

"Because I have new ones," I muttered.

Abraham smiled. "So you'd get rid of my washer and dryer? What else?"

"Your refrigerator... and every stick of furniture in your bedroom."

"Can I keep the curtains?" he teased.


"The flag above my bed?"

"No. And your sports memorabilia is going in the guest bedroom. The signed hockey jersey will be framed and not hung with thumb tacks." I pointed to the speed limit sign hanging on his wall, "That goes. And so do the blinds in the living room. They will be replaced with white curtains. And you can pick which bathroom, but I'm going to need to upgrade at least one bathtub."

Abraham watched me, amused.

"I've spent a little time thinking about this," I muttered. I busied myself with the laundry.

"I agree with everything you said, especially the refrigerator and framing the jersey. But why wait for a new bathtub?"

It's hard, waiting and trying to not be excited, when we talk like this.


"I asked Government Mule if y'all were going to get married," Jenna confided in me at girls' night. "He said not only were you getting married, but that I would be in the wedding party. Will y'all?"

"Yeah," I smiled.

"All of my friends are getting married!" cheered Harvey. She raised her wine glass and fell back on the floor. "Hallelujah!"

Jenna's relationship is the furthest along. She and Government Mule have been living together for a year. Unfortunately Government Mule is no longer Government; he's just a Mule since he got laid off. Any plans of theirs is on hold until they get their footing again.

Katie's relationship is also going well and is near the marriage talk. Actually Katie thought her boyfriend was going to propose on their one-year anniversary, and she held a State of the Union with him when he didn't. She informed him she wanted a husband and two kids by 35, and if he didn't want that, to let her know so she could find someone else to have babies with. It was an ultimatum that shocked the rest of the friends.

She demanded to know when they were getting engaged, saying she had a right to have a say about her future. Emotionally she's at the same place as me. She's found the guy and she's ready to move forward.

"But it's only been a year," comforted Harvey.

"I know what I want," she answered. "And he says it's emasculating to take the engagement and the grand gesture away from him. He said he wants it to be a big deal."

"Don't you want to be surprised?" I asked.


"I'd say if a man wants to give you the grand gesture, to let him. That doesn't happen often enough in life," I added. I'm more come what may versus come hell or high water.

"No. I want a say in my future. Besides, he says we have two issues to work out before we get married. He says I sleep too much. He wants me to get sleep studied and I say I'm fine."

I stifled a laugh in my napkin. Poor Katie and her sleeping.

Although the boyfriend has grown on me over the last year, he hasn't impressed any of the people who are closer to her than me. Her sister Jenna and Harvey being the biggest protesters. But Katie appears to be happy and her boyfriend does undoubtedly love her, so what can you do? I think any sort of intervention would alienate her from her friends. A lot of people don't agree with a couple's relationship, but it's not their business.


And so I wonder, who will be first? Jenna and Government Mule? Katie and her boyfriend? Abraham and me? Mel and her new beau? Does it really happen like this? Everyone pairs off at the same time? Are we adults now?


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