As we were falling asleep the other night:
me: I think I’ve run out of new words to tell you I love you.
him: That’s ok girlfriend. You can use old ones. I know how much you love me.
me: Oh. Ok good.
Last Sunday night as I arrived at Boyfriend’s house to spend the night, he was dancing in the doorway at me. “What a clown, so cute,” I thought with a smile. I went inside. “I’m so happy to see you,” he said.
“Me too.” [hug]
As he closed the garage door behind me, he said, “I love you.”
“Oh yeah?” I said, a little surprised. His random declarations of love don’t happen very often, but he’s been doing it more and more. It makes me really happy.
“Yeah, everything’s better with you, my whole life is better. I love you so much.”
“Yeah. I miss you when you’re not around.”
“Me too. I wish you could be with me all the time.”
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
So we’re doing ok, I guess.
Yesterday was Sister’s graduation party, and today she graduated from law school. We’re all so proud of her, and it’s pretty amazing she did so well considering that law school is hell, plus she hates reading and writing, and that’s all there is in law school. The party was fun, lots of old family friends whom we haven’t seen in a long while. They all came in just to congratulate our family on Sister’s success. So sweet.
Boyfriend couldn’t make it (again); he left for a job in Spain, which will allow him to be around for my trip to Ireland and Scotland. It was a pretty heart-wrenching parting. I always cry a little when he leaves for a work trip, but this time was tough. Recently we’ve been talking about how happy we are together. Boyfriend said he’s more in love with me than ever. We were sitting on the bed between his preparations for his trip, just chatting, and it struck me how lonely I’ll be without him. My face must have crumpled like a piece of paper, and I couldn’t hold it in. Boyfriend did what he always does: he said, “Don’t cry, girlfriend! Soon we’ll be in Dublin together and everything’ll be great!” He started listing all the fun stuff we’ll do abroad, but it didn’t seem to help. I love him so much. He’s my best friend. I still look forward to seeing him every day, even after more than four years. I’m proud of him for getting so much work recently, and excited that it’s allowing him to go abroad, but I miss him something fierce every time.
He said that if I cried, he would cry, and after a while, he did (a little). At the very least it’s nice to know that he misses me as much as I miss him.
At the graduation party last night, I was sitting and chatting with my cousins, and I randomly thought about how nice it would be to see Boyfriend later that night. Then I remembered that he was probably already on the plane, and I cried a little (again). I can’t remember being so effected by one of his trips since the first one. I should be excited to see him in Dublin, but I’m so lonely without him.
He said that we wouldn’t be apart very long, not even for as long as the trips he usually takes to visit his family on the east coast. He said the distance didn’t matter. I corrected him; it does matter, and he’s so far away.
It just occurred to me that I started this blog a couple years after Boyfriend and I got together, but I’ve never posted how it all went down. It was pretty spectacular as “And that’s how I met your father” stories go. It started innocently enough, snuggling and watching a shitty movie at a friend’s place, followed by drunken violence and, in the end, love. This is the account I wrote half a year after the fact. Bear in mind that I must have told this story dozens of times within those six months, so my memory of the events was still crystal clear.
Everything that follows is the truth as it happened, the night I got my first kiss out of my then-crush, now-Boyfriend.
We were watching a movie (Van Helsing) at our friends’ apartment around 2am. Boyfriend had finished work on a shoot pretty late, but had promised to bring me milk tea (with no boba) as an excuse to see him, and he did. One of the girls who lives there (Drunken Acquaintance) came home with a friend of hers from work (Crazypants) who we had never met before. They had just been out drinking and were completely sloshed, so they went to pee. Next thing you know, Crazypants is making a beeline for the door, mumbling about going home and “tell Drunken Acquaintance I’m sorry” or something. Boyfriend said “Wait, is she going to drive?!” So he ran outside to stop her and I ran up stairs to get Drunken Acquaintance. Drunken Acquaintance and I got outside to find Boyfriend trying to reason with sloshed Crazypants, to no avail (“Get the fuck out of my way, you fucking asshole,” etc.). Drunken Acquaintance tried reasoning with Crazypants (which, if you’ve ever seen two drunks having an argument, is actually pretty boring), and 20 minutes later, had made no progress. In fact, the only change was Crazypants’s sudden and inexplicable hatred for me (“Who is this bitch? Look at her, she’s a slut, she’s fucked everyone I know,” etc.).
Eventually, she made a break for her car parked just around the corner, and Boyfriend went to stop her. Drunken Acquaintance in the meantime had a miniature nervous breakdown and started sobbing in the middle of the street. After reminding her that we needed her help to stop her friend, she got herself together, and we turned the corner toward Crazypants’s car only to find Boyfriend pinned between Crazypants and her car, being physically accosted by her, and dodging her punches as best he could without fighting back. Well, that wasn’t really ok with me, so I yelled at her to stop. She didn’t like that one bit, and decided that she would rather attack me than get into her car, so she left Boyfriend alone and started after me.
That’s when I started to get a little worried. It was clear at this point that she was fuelled by rage. I liked her better when she was just hell-bent on getting into her car.
With five years worth of martial arts training under my belt, I’m glad to say that when my reflexes took over, they did a pretty good job. She gave me a right hook, which I caught and pinned under my left arm, then a left hook, which I caught and placed in my left hand. So there we were, facing each other, both her arms pinned to my left, and me with a free right hand. I should have just pummeled her right then, but I didn’t want to hurt her; I just wanted her keys (mistake!). In my mind, she was still and friend of a friend, when really she was just an assailant that didn’t deserve the restraint I exercised. So I went groping behind my back for her keys while Boyfriend came up behind her and held her arms. That gave me the chance to let go of her hands, turn around, and go for the keys in earnest.
Well, giving her my back was a big mistake. The next thing I knew she had sunk her teeth into my left shoulder. And I don’t mean like she bit down and released. I mean she bit me, and then bit down harder and harder, and refused to let go. Like a bulldog. Like a crazy, vicious bulldog (I was wearing a tank top, so she bit straight into the skin). It was only at that point, when her mouth was full of shoulder, that she stopped screaming obscenities at Boyfriend and me. Our peace was not to last.
Needless to say, getting her keys went from priority one to priority two, and it was time for my reflexes to take the wheel again. I reached back with my right hand and pushed my thumb into her left eye. She did not react. I pushed harder, and felt my thumb slip into her eye socket.
It’s amazing how many tiny calculations you do in your head during an emergency situation. At that point I realized that if I went any further, I might seriously injure her, or worse, blind her. That was not my objective. I wanted her keys, and I wanted the altercation to end with as low a level of gross damage to all parties as possible.
I had a choice to make: get the bulldog to stop sinking its teeth into my flesh by hurting it (potentially permanently), or take the pain of a wild animal latched onto my soft, fleshy shoulder until I could figure out some other way to get it off.
I chose to not hurt her. I chose to let her keep biting me while I thought of another plan of attack. A half second later, I took my thumb out of her eye, put my whole hand against her face, and pushed hard. That got her off me, but she was still clamped down so I figure that’s when she broke the skin.
Boyfriend, in the meantime, had reached up and was just placing his hand around her throat to choke her enough to get her mouth to release when I gave her face a good shove. So he got his grip on her arms again, and I twisted her wrist just enough to get the keys from her hand. I called to Boyfriend “I got ‘em,” we both jumped away from her, and she came after me again. I have never seen a drunk person walk so quickly, in such a straight line before. It was pretty impressive.
That’s when Crazypants decided that she would call the police. She figured that after accosting Boyfriend and chewing on me, she was the victim since we were taking her keys. Boyfriend and I said “YES, CALL THE POLICE.” She went for her phone while Boyfriend and I double-timed it back to the apartment. I hid the keys in a low cabinet in the kitchen, and we got the hell out of there.
We walked the two blocks to Boyfriend’s apartment. I noticed for the first time that the night was cool for summer, though the pavement was warm under my bare feet. Boyfriend offered to split a beer to calm us down. I said we should probably have zero alcohol in our blood if the cops show up, and he agreed. I sat on his bed and watched my hands shake for a few minutes. My heart was still pounding. Boyfriend pulled me into the bathroom to check out my shoulder under better light. It was ugly. I glanced at it, but didn’t bother getting a good look. I knew it wasn’t pretty from the way it was yelling at me.
I laid down with him and watched cartoons for a couple hours. After a while, he turned out the lights, let the computer sleep and closed his eyes. He managed to catch two hours sleep before he left for work the next morning.
I slept for about 20 minutes total (I was still wired from the fight, I kept jerking awake to check on Boyfriend), and my shoulder hurt badly for a few days. But I got a goodnight kiss, and the rest is history. I spent the night at his place for the next month or so, and we’ve been together ever since.
The next day I called Drunken Acquaintance to discuss the previous night’s events. She apologized about a dozen times (to which I said, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not your fault, you’re not the one who bit me”), then gave me Crazypants’s email address. I emailed Crazypants, with cc to Drunken Acquaintance and Boyfriend, saying something like “Hey there, I’d like to reintroduce myself, as our last meeting was under some unfortunate circumstances,” and “Let’s sit down and talk about what happened. This will not be a finger-pointing exercise, I just want to clear up what happened, and make sure it never happens again.”
Her response: “Sorry about the other night, I don’t think it’s necessary to meet.” The end.
Well that wasn’t exactly the answer I was looking for, so after consulting my parents (who advised me against doing ANYTHING, even contacting Crazypants after the fight), Boyfriend and I went to a nearby police station and pressed charges. We got a few calls from a nice lady detective, who passed the case on to the City Attorney’s office. I was called in to tell my side of the story to a very nice man in that office.
He said he would probably offer Crazypants a plea (anger management classes, and attending AA sessions), which she could accept, or the city would prosecute her in court. I said I hope she takes the plea, I’m not out for blood. He said, “Don’t worry, they always take the plea.” I guess she did because I haven’t heard from the City Attorney’s office or from her since (which is fine with me).
The case worker in the city attorney’s office was impressed by my behavior in his office (my candidness and sense of humor about the attack), and my mentality and reactions during the fight. He asked if I had ever considered being a cop. “You’re a natural. You don’t see that in families that don’t have cops in them. It’s really unusual. You’re just a natural.” My dad steered me out of there pretty quick.
That was six months ago, and things are going just fine. I have a small scar from where she bit me. It occasionally itches and gives me street cred.
I wrote the above three years ago. It was a catalyzing experience; it drew Boyfriend and I together rapidly and inexorably over the next month. I wasn’t at ease when he wasn’t around. I worried about him when we were apart. I spent every night with him, and had so much trouble leaving in the morning I was often late for work. On the lighter side, I got to come to Boyfriend’s rescue! I’ve reminded him about that a few times; it usually comes out something like, “I love you, Boyfriend. I would protect you from anything. I already did, remember? Yeah, like that. I’ll beat her up next time. Stupid Chompy-face.” I actually call him Boyfriend instead of by his name all the time, too. When I tell the story now, I call my attacker Bitey McSnappyPants. It paints a more accurate picture.
I visited an emergency room not far from my apartment within a couple of days of the fight to get shots. I wasn’t sure what I needed, so when I walked in and the nurse asked me how she could help me, I said, “I got bitten. What kind of shots do I need for something like that?” She asked what kind of dog. “Human dog,” I said. She called a few other nurses over while she got a couple hypodermic needles ready to shoot me full of antibiotics or something. It was a slow night in the ER, so I got a lot of attention, and some pretty good snacks. My short visit didn’t cost me more than $25 as I recall (I’ve always had health insurance), and the nurses were kind.
What did I get out of it, in the end? A pretty good story, a scar that faded and eventually went away within a couple of years, and a handsome, funny, smart boyfriend who I love (and loves me back). Overall, worth it.
UPDATE: October 13, 2012
I was just looking over old emails and found this gem. Old Buddy is a friend of Boyfriend’s, and was our mutual contact with Drunken Acquaintance.
“On a lighter note, Old Buddy has been enormously helpful on the topic: “She bit, but you eye gouged, neither is a legal move. The fans demand a rematch.” Then he sent me a photo of Mike Tyson biting Evander Holyfield’s ear. Thanks, Old Buddy; let the healing begin.”
Apparently the scar hasn’t completely gone away 😦 But Boyfriend and I are still together, so the whole thing was still worth it in my book.
When I first saw this, I thought, “That’s my mom’s handwriting.” It looks just like it. Now I can’t stop wondering.
PostSecret is a really cool idea. People anonymously mail in postcards with their secrets on them. It’s heartbreaking to see how everyone carries around their own burdens so quietly, but it’s therapeutic to know we’re all in the same boat. I feel really alone sometimes, but it seems more and more like I shouldn’t.
I am occasionally overwhelmed with a sense of love for my friends. Love, like fear, is difficult to describe. I have to rely on our shared experience as humans to convey the depth of my loyalty and affection for them. I would describe the sensation like this: I’m on a boat on the ocean. I jump overboard and squeeze my eyes shut as I plunge into the water; that flash of adventurous anticipation that forces my eyes open before I stop sinking and start to float: that’s what love feels like: an adventure. Then it wells up inside me, a bubbling, laughing fountain, overflowing at my temples, coating me with a bright, oily shine.
I think I will never get to know my friends as well as I would like. Like a second family, my goal is to make them feel loved, and sometimes I fail. I want to make their lives easier, to protect them from hardship, and feed them delicious meals. I want to provide for them and fight for them. I want them to sleep soundly at night. I want them to believe their hard work will pay off. I want to give each of them the chance to succeed in their own way. I want them to never feel alone.
As I read what I’ve written I realize this is how a parent feels for her child, and I begin to understand that all love probably shares common roots: protection, encouragement, joy, success.
I feel like I could power a tiny mouse-town with this feeling. It spins like a top behind my eyes, and hums contentedly in my chest. I smile quietly in the dark as I wait for sleep, in the car as I glance in the rear-view mirror, on the couch watching TV with Boyfriend, knowing I will see my friends soon.