Monday, June 26, 2006

Help Me Up

I’m having the kind of morning Mondays are infamous for. The coffee I could’ve sworn I set to start before I woke today wasn’t brewed when I plodded, first thing after waking, downstairs. And so I made it. It was still dark out, even at almost 7 this morning, no sunshine, no birds chirping. Just rain. Lots and lots of rain. The kind that breeds sticky air, just warm enough to remind you that it’s summer, but just cool enough to make you uncomfortable. I went back downstairs to prepare the coffee for Billy and me, only to notice neither Billy nor I had cleaned out our travel mugs from our excursion yesterday. And Billy, bruit that he is, apparently used his superhero grip to put his lid on. Freshly lotioned from the shower, my fingers slid around the twist-on lid of his Borders mug, refusing to let loose and uncap. Old coffee sloshed from the half-full mug when I finally – using a paper towel and a hand towel – manage to get the lid off. After washing out our cups, I realized that someone had used the last of the sugar from the diner-esque glass dispenser we use, and didn’t feel like filling it back up. So I pulled the new bag of sugar from the cabinet to refill the container. And, of course, while I did that, sugar spilled everywhere. After cleaning up the million granules all over the counter, I stirred the cream and sugar into our coffees. Naturally, in my haste to get upstairs and finish getting ready, I stirred too vigorously, splashing my creamy coffee down the side of my travel mug, and all over the counter I’d just cleaned. The sleeve of my robe got caught on a drawer as I left the kitchen, cursing all the way.

Once upstairs, I realized that Billy was still in bed. He was supposed to be in the shower by now. So I roused him from sleep, presented him with his coffee and pulled out my makeup bag. Perhaps he saw it on my face, or perhaps it was just the first question he could think of, but “How are you today?” were the first words out of his mouth.

“Fine, fine,” I said, quickly and quietly, feeling the tears behind my eyes. He was walking around the bed, preparing for the shower, as I spoke. I appeared to very interested in finding something in my makeup bag as he came toward me. Why the fuck am I crying? I thought, while trying to hide my face from him.

“Are you sure?” he said, his voice concerned, as he kneeled toward me.

“I’m fine,” I replied, clipping my words short to keep my voice from betraying me. I didn’t want him to see me crying. What an asshole I am, I thought. Crying? First thing in the morning?

“No you’re not.” He moved the covers on the bed and sat in front of me. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t even know!” I said, half laughing, half crying, finally revealing my watery eyes. “I don’t. Really. I don’t.”

“What’s a word for how you’re feeling?”

“Frustrated.” I reached for a kleenex.


I recounted the story of the coffee, the unmade pot, the unwashed mugs, the unfilled container, the spilled sugar, the spilled coffee… “But, I don’t know, I mean, that shit happens to me all the time. I don’t know why I’m so upset…” I trailed off.

“Is it the zit?”

I have a pimple the size of fucking France on my face right now. It’s been there since Friday, but, until now, it’s been all but invisible. Resting squarely between my lip and my nose, it hurts with every smile, every frown, every move of my mouth. It’s deep, rooted somewhere miles below the surface of my skin, which is why no one but me even knew it was there. Until last night, when I decided it was ready to be picked on. Which was a bad move on my part. Because although I did relieve some of the pressure, I really only served to make it red and obvious. This is very bad. This morning, staring back at me from the mirror was, not my face, but an angry red bruise. It’s all I can see. And it still sort of hurts. But what hurts me more is the way it looks. Yeah, I’m vain. So what.

“Well, it doesn’t help,” I said, my bottom lip quivering uncontrollably. “And now I’m going to have puffy eyes from crying over nothing,” I continued, throwing my hands up in helplessness.

“Well I think you’re beautiful,” he said, kissing me gently on the mouth.

“Thanks.” My voice was barely above a whisper, my eyes stared down at my makeup bag. I was embarrassed and sad and frustrated. And I knew I was overreacting, but I couldn’t stop it.

After his shower, when he entered the room to find me dressing, my posture told him that I felt sad and dejected. He waited for me to notice him. “It’s just a zit, babe," he said. "And you can’t even see it anymore.”

I must admit, I’m a whiz with the makeup. I had made it pretty much disappear. But I still knew it was there. I felt gross.

“I know,” I said, pulling my shirt on over my head. “But I just don’t feel very…sexy.”

“You are sexy,” he said, pulling me to him. “Always.” He bent down to kiss me, but stopped. “I assume I’m not allowed to kiss you, huh? To preserve the makeup?”

“You can kiss me,” I said, “but gently.”

And he did.

We parted ways for the day, and when I got to work, I noticed a text message from him. Our exchange was quick and funny, just a short set of messages. That’s it. But they said what I needed to hear. And they made me laugh. In essence, he took my hand, helped me up and dusted me off from the fall. And I needed that. Desperately

And I love that, when I need him, he’s there for me. Even though I’m too proud to admit that I need him to help me put me together sometimes, he’s there. Without my asking, without my urging. Because he knows I need it. And it’s in those moments when I realize that I’m wasting my time, questioning and worrying and fretting over Us and The Present Tense and Does He Feel The Same and all of my typical insecurity-induced quandaries. It takes energy to help me up, even if the thing that got me down was something small, and that’s what you do when you love someone. And that’s what he did for me.

Some days, despite the fact that things aren’t going my way, I just feel lucky.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

hope your zit goes away & your day ends up being sunny.........

Kat said...

I've had days like that.. over silly stupid little things.. zits included.. funny how just one little thing can make me break down.. i know how your feeling, but the text msg's from billy! they are totally fantastic,.! he rocks! it totally rocks when my husband does the dishes - that makes my day! ;-) its the little things..

Popeye said...

I think I needs me a text girlfriend.
You are lucky.

Anonymous said...

Those mornings are the worst! I know that you totally appreciate Billy for being there through those blue moments that you can't even explain to yourself. Everybody needs a person like that in their life and I'm sure that you're that person for Billy as well.