He’s sleeping in his chair, after a long day. After a long day, dinner, and a new series on Netflix for us to binge.
But he isn’t going to bed, because he’s waiting for his girlfriend to finish her blog, so that he can edit it before she publishes.
Before bed, he carefully spoons out the grinds of coffee in the machine and sets the timer. And then he locks the front door, turns out the lights, and pads his way to bed.
When he gets to our room, he quietly fills my CPAP machine with distilled water, and turns down the sheets. He sets the alarm – just one for him, because he’ll let me sleep a minute or two later.
He doesn’t hit snooze. In fact, he lets the alarm go off once, and then he begins routine. And for him, routine is down to precise minutes. Eggs take x amount of time in the frying pan, he needs this much time in the shower. He’s the kind of guy who has to leave at the correct time, to be the right amount of time early – he is never late, nor on time. He is early.
If the girls are home, he’s up earlier to make a full breakfast to fill them up before his morning coffee. And if they’re not, when he wakes me up, he’s already got two cups full so that we can enjoy the peacefulness of the sunrise together. And he keeps a keen eye on how much of my particular brand of coffee cream is left, so that he can remember to buy some through the week if we need it.
And everyday, he wears the necklace I bought him for Christmas. And every night after work, he makes sure that my smoothie cup is in the dishwasher, so I can use it the following morning. He folds panties, and hangs dresses, and puts hair accessories away in the bathroom in the places I’ve set out for them, so they’re never strewn about.
And everyday he says: marry me. To which I reply: are you really asking? And he says: yes, and I say, okay, and then we smile. Every day.
He remembers to charge his phone – and mine if I’ve been too lazy to plug mine in. And if we’re falling asleep, and I haven’t got my CPAP mask on yet, I hear “Baby, put your mask on,” whispered under his breath.
If we’ve driven together, he remembers to let me out of the truck first, instead of trying to squeeze out of the narrow space between it and the wall of our garage. He waterproofs my boots, forwards bill payments due, charges tablets till full, and puts the tupperware in the cupboard with its lid, just so that things aren’t cluttered.
And he calls his Mom. And his Dad. And he listens to his friends. He accepts constructive criticism, and answers the phone for his employees no matter what time at night they call. He clips my bangs if they’re getting too long, and helps strap me into my highest heels, if I’m struggling to get them on at all. He knows where I’ve left my sunglasses, adds extra fruit to the shopping list and remembers my allergies.
Above all, he texts and he calls. And he says things that remind me that his vulnerability is a real thing, his anxieties are complex and significant. He worries that he’s not enough, and that he’s not giving enough. And that I’ll check out, because all he’s known in relationships are people who check out. And then demolish him on Social Media. Or through their words.
I see him in a way no one ever has, and I challenge any woman who thinks they’d like to try. In a cliched, romcom way, I could say that I loved him before I met him, and that his journey and mine are two lovers stitched from the stars; fully immersed in a love that neither thought possible or deserving of.
And though I take the pot shots at him socially, and on the air, he’s the emotional rough houser at home, where I accept his barrage of teasing and silliness, because I deserve it for my smart mouth and penchant for drama.
I jokingly stab him with jabs on his willingness to drench his social media with romance, and public displays of affection.
But in reality, I am the luckiest gal. I’m the happiest gal. And if I had to do it again – live through the fire, to find the light on the other side, I would.
He’s now eating a popsicle, because he simply couldn’t stand trying to sleep in his chair anymore. His boyish grin impshly says: I’m having a popsicle, ya almost done?
Ya baby, I’m done.