relationships

When in America

I don’t vomit often but every time I do,  it seems to be in America.

Maybe it’s the free-pouring of liquor, in contrast to our responsible and regulated 1oz shots, carefully measured out one after another. Maybe travelling is hard on my stomach. Maybe it’s the $2.50 beer specials. Maybe it’s the cloak of justification that I place upon my shoulders every time I cross the boarder, or the voice of Lady Liberty in my ear whispering: “Yes…indulge! Eat and drink and be free… this is America! This is FREEDOM.” Either way, you could trace the path of my proverbial vomit-comet all the way from Boston to NYC, down to Miami, over to Oakland and you’ll end up, most recently, in Seattle.

I’m not proud of this; vomiting is a disgusting facet of life and something that should only happen to you after the age of 25 because of severe illness or pregnancy. But a few weekends ago, in Seattle, I found myself crouched over the hotel toilet at 2am barfing as if it was my high school graduation and praying to a God I didn’t know I believed in, when my boyfriend walked in. He looked at me, silently, and I shooed him away with a mortified wave of my hand. Two minutes later, he walked in again. I begged him to leave. This back-and-forth happened two more times, until he finally pointed at the toilet and it dawned on me that he was indicating a need to use it. Terrified that he was about to expel the same demons that had been haunting me, I got up and moved to the sink. Moments later, I glanced over to see him peeing, as if nothing out of the ordinary had been happening.

Mildly confused as to why my significant other had made eye contact with me while vomiting, ignored my pleas for privacy and kicked me out of the bathroom without uttering a single word the entire time, I finally fell asleep. The next morning, I woke up still feeling like an involuntary vessel for all things evil. “Oh no,” he said innocently, as if just learning about my pain for the first time, “do you think you need to throw up?”

“I literally threw up six times last night. You WATCHED me.”

“What?!”

“You watched me, and then you pointed at the toilet and made me move, so you could pee.”

He’d been sleepwalking. A wave of relief washed over me. He hadn’t seen me heaving violently over the toilet, sweaty hair matted to my forehead, bloodshot eyes pleading with him to look away! HE HADN’T SEEN IT.

The thing is, he never sleepwalks. This was completely, utterly, abnormal behaviour. Suddenly we both had strange, international behaviours to account for… but really, isn’t that what love is? Cradling the weirdest parts of you in your palms and offering them to someone else in the hopes that they’ll accept them like the precious stones they are? That they’ll offer you back a few palmfuls of their own? That’s one of my favourite things about this big love of mine, the way it is continuously revealing itself, piece by piece, over time. The most joyous moments being those when you find a piece that matches one of your own in its weirdness. Because then you start to put these pieces together and they create this serene, unique, and brilliantly fucked up landscape that only the two of you get to live in. A map of America covered in vomit and sleepwalking through life together.

S.

 

A Cohabitating ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’

It’s dinnertime! What is the most appropriate meal for two fully functioning people in their late-20s/early-30s?

A) Make pita pizzas.

B) Order pizza.

C) I dunno, what do you want to eat?

D) I DON’T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT?

Hurry! It’s 5pm, which means you only have 30 minutes to come up with a creative way of saying: “Welcome home, I’m sorry I used all your hockey tape for my arts and crafts.” Do you: 

A) Answer the door wearing the last two tiny pieces of tape as nipple covers in the hopes that boobs will make everything okay, because boobs make everything okay.

B) Immediately embark on a lengthy diatribe about how recreational sport is repetitive and replaceable in comparison to your fleeting and spontaneous artistic inspiration.

C) Call in a bomb threat to every local community hockey rink in the city.

D) Boobs?

A storm has cut off your cable and Internet. As you learn to navigate this new, terrifying, Netflix-free world, do you:

A) Uncomfortably stare at one another until it dawns on you: …I have no idea what this human wants or thinks or enjoys other than Orange is the New Black and Breaking Bad I mean who IS this stranger I sleep next to does he even have a middle name have his eyes always been brown am I going to die tonight I’m going to die tonight aren’t I?

B) Play Scrabble by candlelight, with the condition that all words played be a colloquialism for sex and/or the genitals.

C) Make all of the sex! (Bonus points for role-playing as: “It’s the apocalypse and we’ve been running for our lives for hours, yet somehow my makeup and hair is perfect and I’m scared but all we have is each other and this moment so take me now, you brute, and put a bullet in my head if I go Full Zombie.”)

D) Eat absolutely every singly thing in the refrigerator out of fear and necessity.

While digging through a kitchen drawer in a desperate effort to find double-A batteries for the remote control you stumble upon various, long-forgotten relics of Girlfriend Past. Do you:

A) Curl up into a ball on the kitchen floor clutching everything you’ve found and shake silently until your partner gets home.

B) Shrug and continue rummaging for those batteries because this Chopped marathon isn’t going to fucking watch itself, is it?

C) Allow the fire of a thousand suns to consume you and spend the afternoon smearing the words “THIS HOUSE IS NOT A HOME” across every wall in your own blood.

D) See these relics for what they are – forgotten leftovers of abandoned love – and choose to acknowledge them as a token, a gift, a reminder that despite your fabled history, you haven’t always been the central plot point of his narrative. Allow them to remind you that he is a separate being, a vehicle of his own history, and even though you have traveled so far in this life together, you remain in the passenger seat, navigating but not steering. What matters now are the lessons he brought with him in the trunk and how soon you guys are going to stop for snacks on this new journey of yours.

S.