It was Thursday morning and Steven had the day off, as his days off run every six days and so we only have a real weekend together every six weeks, (That's like twice in our relationship, but he's a good sport knowing the rest of the world's schedule doesn't exactly jive with his.) and he decided we should go to brunch, because that's what ordinary people do with their weekends. The problem is that most restaurants actually only have brunch on the weekends so it was one of a handful of diners always open for breakfast, The Original Pancake house, IHOP (Yes, we have a few in the city) or one of my favorite places not too far from my house.
I love Wishbone. It's soul food at it's best but also serves enough regular menu items that appeal to everyone, especially breakfast. After a sex marathon the night before, or what now constitutes as a sex marathon for two people no longer in their 20's, we were starving. A quick shower and we were out the door.
It's funny how relationships move a bit faster the older you get. In the past, I would have been so concerned with looking perfect that I would lock myself in the bathroom with my clothes, shower and wash off the mascara that had run down my cheeks during sex (the big thing is washing my hair...this boy can turn it into a birds nest in NO TIME FLAT!), put on my makeup, dry my hair, all in a steamy bathroom, only to open the door and step out in a heavy midst, with some slight sweat, but looking perfectly made up and ready to go. I would feel like Kelly LeBrock in "Wierd Science" who, after being created by a boy and his computer, seemed to appear in perfection out of a fog.
At this age, and with Steve, I wake up with raccoon eyes and he tells me I'm beautiful. I feel so comfortable with him that showering with Steve is nothing. He looks at me like I'm the most incredible thing he's ever seen including a light cat call whistle - jiggles, cellulite and all hanging from here and there. Albeit, he is pretty much blind without his glasses up to about a foot away - HELPFUL! This morning, I showered, put on just enough cover up to not look like I had only managed three hours of sleep the night before, threw on some comfy clothes and we were out the door.
Those in Chicago share a common love for Wishbone, no matter the location, although I think both the food and service are best in Lakeview. Steve is so excited I recommended the restaurant that I think he peed himself a little. We manage to park, pay the rip off parking fee (thank you City of Chicago for selling our parking meters and then spending the $1B, mostly on the bid for the Olympics, which we lost, leaving the tax payers, once again, holding the bag. I thought we were Democrats!), and head off to the restaurant. We get a good table, but not the best. The best tables are the booths by the windows - lots of light and great people watching as people walk up and down the street. I order coffee and Steve, obsessed with juice, orders two tall orange juices. We sit and talk, laughing, mostly.
I love how we just harass one another. It reminds me of who I really am. When I was younger, this sassy-smart ass quality apparently drove guys crazy because I had them flocked around me. It was as if I held them just far enough away to say, "I like you but you can't have me.....yet!" This has been the element missing, amongst others, in past relationships. You know, the "I want him to like me so much that I'm afraid to be me?" Well, I now know if that's the case then that person is not the right one for you.
"Are you ready to order?" says the waitress. I reply "Could you give us a few minutes?" We were so consumed with talking about nothing important. "Yeah, a few minutes," Steve says. "I'm too busy admiring the vision in front of me." (Okay, we can all collectively throw up a little in our mouths). I, being conscious that I am consuming about 1,000 cals more a day (AT LEAST) dating Steve, conservatively order the egg white, spinach, mushroom and tomato omelet with tomatoes on the side (my ass doesn't need the home fries - no matter how much Steve loves "the butt"). On the other hand, Steve decides on the Red Eggs. Hmmm...are you sure about that? Red Eggs, beans, hot sauce..it's not like we're recovering from hangover, but our age (shutup I said it and it's time I admit to the "changes") it's just not the best idea. And it wasn't but I didn't know until we were finished.
"I have to go to the bathroom." "Okay." I sit, enjoy some more coffee and looking out the window to some people watching and thinking...All these people off to work, like most normal people. I DO enjoy my lifestyle. What kind of dollar figure would I put on it? Well, whatever it is, I love it but I am not ready to reveal my financial truth to Steven so maybe it's time to start the hunt again. I remember how exciting it was to get up each morning and head to my office on Michigan Avenue, even the one in the burbs...and having a car. I do miss having a car. Freedom. To reach this goal I would have no choice but to reveal myself and if he doesn't kick me to the curb I could take care of it living together, but why should I EVER expect him to support me. Damn it, E! That's the thinking that your Dad instilled in you - strong, don't need anyone, independent - not such a bad thing, but can be. Now it's simple embarrassment about my reality. How the FUCK did I get here? How did I even let it happen? Making just enough to get by on, clients paying late, overdraft fees and sometimes bad checks that totally fuck me over...that totals an extra thousand dollars a year and then the government STILL wants money after that. What the HELL? I know what's held me back - daddy and male family figure's expectations of me, but isn't that just imagined. Stop it, E, you're making yourself crazy. But I want a nice home and life. I should be able to have this. How the hell do others do this? Oh, yeah, they're married or have a trust fund. Well you have neither so it's time to be the scrapper you were raised to be. You're just going to have to make time and put your foot down with Steve so you can concentrate on what you need to do for YOU! "There's someone in the bathroom." "Oh." Steve is still standing. A bit antsy. He then sits. "Well, you should wait, I'm sure they won't be long." "You're right. I'll go check again."
Okay, it's official, E, you're certifiably crazy. It's not like you're the only one who has suffered in this economy. It's hard to do this on your own and, not to mention, you've just celebrated 10 years in business...that's a milestone. A major one. People WISH they could say this. It gives you so much more credibility. Okay, so Pittsburgh didn't work out and maybe that's because you look so young, but FUCK 'em. You're great at what you do and it's about time you say...outloud. Celebrate your success and show a little pride. God won't strike you down. He wants the best for you...." "There's another person in the bathroom now." For God's SAKE, I know there are multiple stalls in the women's bathroom...what's going on? "Okay, well, we can head to mine. Why don't you check one last time." Standing with small grimace, "Okay." Geez, E, here is this man totally enamored of you. But what if he finds out my truth and leaves me. This could happen. E! Shutup. Do what you gotta do until that happens. Take it slow. Take care of your shit as best as possible and worry about it when it comes up. Sigh. "Here's your bill." "Thanks." Not sure of the amount of money in my bank account at this very moment, I whip out my debit card with complete confidence that God will provide and pay the bill. E, all you need is a little faith. He will lead you. He's never left you behind and always provided for you when you really needed it. You'll be fine. It's time to get your house in order. "Thanks," says the waitress. I pay the bill and return to my internal battle.
"Uhm...they're not coming out of the bathroom," Steve says sitting. "Okay, well we'll just head to mine." "Okay, now? Where's the bill?" I wink. He smiles, "You didn't have to." "But I did. I can afford breakfast." I think. It wasn't rejected. "Uhm, okay, we have to go RIGHT NOW." "Oh! Okay."
We head out of the restaurant, turn the corner and walk the 100 feet or so to his car. Steve is clearly walking a few paces faster than me. "Are you okay?" "Yep," he says shortly. "Just need to go to the bathroom." OH!!!!!!!! I start to walk faster and hop in the car. We're about 10 blocks from my house but Steve drove like the car was on fire - or rather his ass was on fire. Poor guy, we hit every red light in those 10 blocks. All four of them. He was really antsy. So much he couldn't even talk. "How are you?" "Need to get to your house." I smile and give a little chuckle. "Okay." We pull up and he goes to park. "Do you have your keys out?" "Yep." "You go ahead and I'll come up." "Okay." No joke. I knew the emergency. I saw it in his sweet brown eyes. The feeling of dire urgency. The kind of urgency that would leave more than skid marks in his shorts if he didn't make it to a bathroom and fast.
I run up the front stairs, unlock my door while he parks the car, run up the stairs to my apartment, I head him, now, running behind me and up the stairs. Steve is unbuckling his pants as he runs up the stairs. I cut the corner after opening the door and head to my office on the other side of the apartment. Once there I turn on my computer and immediately launch Windows Media Player and blast some music. Hey, I know what it's like. I have a fear of pooping in public bathrooms. I totally "clam up", for lack of a better term. I hear Steve close and lock the bathroom door and I begin to work like nothing has happened. HELLO! The honeymoon is over. He has diarrhea in front of you, the initial romance where you both smell like roses and have no bad faults is now over!
Eventually, the victim makes his way to the door of my office. Looking a little worn out, a look of relieve crosses his face. "That was a close call." I laugh. "Apparently! Thank goodness we weren't head to your place." "Oh my GOSH!" he says in his Chee-ca-go accent. "No kidding. I wouldn't have made it and you might have seen the end of me." "Really?" "Uhm, yeah, what man's pride can recover from shitting his pants?" I just laugh until I cry. "Well, honey, we've all been there. Again, glad I live so close." He sighs and laughs, "Yeah!".
So, here we are. I joke that I feel like I have a target on me and Steve has his arrow aimed on it and it's true what people say, when it's right, it's natural and when shit happens (pun intended) you still like and want that person. After all, eventually shit does happen and it could have been me. So I got up and kissed him and he bid adieu so I could work and I just chuckled to myself thinking about the morning.