Hit and Run

He and she spent Monday’s and Friday’s sitting at his work from 5-10pm. On this particular Friday, he decided to drive them home in her car. They took the short-cut they usually did when driving home, going the usual 45 mph. A white car slowed in front of them, going around 35mph, a whole 10 mph lower than the marked speed limit. He took it upon himself to turn on his signal and pass them. When he got in front of them, he increased his speed back up to 45, gaining more distance between them. The night was suddenly ablaze with the other car’s blinding headlights.

He did respond well to being flashed by someone that had clearly neglected to look at the post marked speed limit sign. He tapped the breaks, slowing until the car caught up to them. As soon, as the other vehicle realized the slow in traffic, they increased speed and attempted to whip around he and she in an angered manner. He sped up back to 45, until the other car fell back.

They reached a large intersection as he and she got in the middle lane to go straight. The white car veered quickly into the right lane. She could see there were four young, high school aged boys filling the car. Just as she made the observation, a loud THUD startled them. Someone from the other car has thrown a large, heavy, though unidentifiable object at her car. He wouldn’t stand for letting them get away. Switching lanes, he raced up behind the other car, tailing close. “Write down their license plate number!” He yelled out with adrenaline. She pulled out her phone like rapid-fire, typing in the plate number and the make and model of the car.

When they had the needed information, he pulled to right into a parking lot. Across the street, the other car pulled in to a gravel road and turned around to go back where they had both just came. To her, this indicated that they had gotten into the turn lane to merely throw the object at her car, which infuriated her even more. They were both trembling with the aftermath of an adrenaline rush as they got out of the car to call the police and assess the damage. Though the dent wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be based on the loud noise the collision had made, they were still determined to get the boys into trouble for what they had done. She was in her fourth month of pregnancy. The damage they could have done, may have cost them more than they could even get back if it had hit her window instead of the door.

IMG_2436The cop showed up within a half hour. The man expressed that there was not much they could do, since they weren’t sure who was driving. About a week later, he received a call from the cop. The boy had been 17 years old and the father was not too happy finding out what his son had been involved in, taking away his car privileges. The boy refused to give up the names of his friends, though the dad claimed he would try to get them out. The cop stated bluntly that unless he and she wanted to sue the boy, there was nothing they could do. This angered he and she, since the kid was involved and yet got away. Not only that, but the 17 year old had been the driver who flashed his brights and purposefully pulled up next to them so that his friend could throw the unidentifiable, heavy object at the passenger side of her car.

Though justice had not been served, he and she were happy that nothing worse had happened. They were currently busy with the excitement of the coming holiday and their 20 week ultrasound scheduled for December 12th were they would find out Baby’s gender.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Night Out at an Art Show

His friend, R, was an artist as well. R worked at the school where she worked as the art teacher. He knew R through the world renowned artist professor that had once also supported T. T was out of the picture for good. Word had gotten to he and she that T cut off everyone in the small city where they had all attended college and moved out to Seattle with his fiancé. She had had a bad feeling about T back when they met, one that proved to be accurate, but she felt that R had the potential to be a good friend. As much as she had seemed against all of the friends he had picked over the years, it wasn’t because she wanted to cordon him off from the world, it was because she wanted him to find someone who would be an actual friend to him rather than use him up, lie to him, and spit him back out.

R had invited them to an art show where several of his pieces would be displayed. It was about an hour and a half away, but they decided to carpool and R even offered to pay for a hotel room with two beds for the three of them to spend the night. He was excited for the exposure to more of the art culture, feeling a bit deflated with his own art and craving inspiration. It was the art and the idea of a night out on the town, one of which he was unfamiliar that was enticing. She was excited to get out of the apartment and do something that brought her back to her ripe age of 22. Being pregnant tended to rob her of feeling young and invincible. She was caring for two now and the responsibility was growing. This night would show a glimpse of her old life, the one where he and she would occasionally bar hop and stay out too late.

They stopped at R’s house to pick him up before the extended ride to the art show. It didn’t seem all that long from the music and conversations that filled the time. Upon arrival, they checked into the hotel commenting on how swanky it was. They were accompanied in the lobby by the distinct smell of cigarette, age, and two life sized native american indians on an old couch. The room was just as interesting with its living area equipped with a fridge and the duck drawings that were bolted to the wall as though they were at risk of being stolen. “Where should we eat?” R asked the group as they headed out into the quaint town. It was unanimously undecided that they would just walk toward the art gallery until they saw a restaurant that looked appetizing. He and R carried some snacks for the event to the gallery, hoping to quickly drop them off before it began and before they decided to sit down and eat. It was a quick drop as they asked a local where good food was. Since the boys would be drinking, they decided to go for a heavier meal that wasn’t sushi, and went all out with an authentic Mexican restaurant.

“This is going to be fun,” He expressed to R as they ordered their first round of drinks. She wasn’t as enthused, knowing her night would be filled with water and a lot of walking around. By this time, they were all starving, munching on chips and salsa until their meals arrived. This was the part that she had ben excited about: Food! Pregnancy tended to make that something worth getting excited about. He and R started their night of drinking with two beers, ready to head over to the event where free wine was being served in sumptuous amounts.

The three began the night in the back room, the boys instantly filling tiny plastic cups with the red sticky liquid that would get them through four hours of standing. He kissed she on the cheek and placed a hand on her pregnant belly. “I’m sorry sweetie.” He cooed in her ear, feeling somewhat guilty that she couldn’t partake in the nights lively events and could only act as a fly on the wall.

“It’s fine love. We haven’t gotten away in a while. I’m happy if you’re having a good time.” When she said it, she really meant it. It made her feel as though she was completing a selfless task out of love for the soon to be father of her child.

It was art galore. Swarms of people circled the tiny gallery, talking through their individual plastic cups and enjoying the sights of surrealist art. The music was eclectic as a woman sat in the corner decorating the faces of those with already slipping inhibitions. He was constantly filling his cup and alternating trips to the bathroom as the night crept on. “I feel so inspired,” He said looking at the filled walls of art, “I just want to go home and make something or paint.” She nodded, understanding the sudden spark of creativity. It must have been the atmosphere that ignited the passion in everyone, mixed with the increasing number of those with a buzz. There were paper airplanes being thrown as part of one band’s interest in bringing others to a time of youth, and artists standing around critiquing pieces while pushing their own. It was a frenzy and to her it felt long. Toward the end of the event, the swarm turned to a sprinkle, which soon went deserted. He had been throwing paper planes around with a young boy, drunk at this point and attempting to show her that he was good with kids. It was nearing 10:30 as he, she, and R sat in the back room with a little girl, age 4. R was teaching her with great effort how to draw a snake. “I wish I was that good with kids.” He said watching R teach the girl with patience, though R was drunk at this point as well.

“Baby, he teaches art. I’m sure with practice you will be like that too. Jut give yourself a chance.” He nodded and kissed her. The taste of the grape wine causing her to feel a gentle pang of jealousy, but she let it pass. There were two women left, both owners of the gallery that were ready to go out on the town. One was the mother of the boy he had played with earlier, the other, also a mother of a child who wasn’t present at the event, were left to close. R was interested in the one with the 2-year-old, attempting to fashion a connection together the whole night. The woman was young and from Columbia though her face at this point was masked with face paint that looked like a starry night sky and the sun.

He was getting friendly with the older woman as they sat down at the first bar. It was filled with locals and people already off to a good start. All she wanted was food, as everyone ordered a hamburger. His attention seemed drawn away from her and mores at this woman. Knowing him, she tried not to get jealous, he normally was friendly and just wanted to make friends besides, this woman had two kids and was engaged. This didn’t stop her though from getting his phone number and email as she sat idly by. They discussed chatting when he had some art to display, which was perfectly innocent. A tall man with dreads walked into the bar. “That guy looks like Laurent from Twilight!” She told him quietly. He nodded in agreement and swung his whole body around to face the man.

“She thinks you look like the guy from Twilight.” He exclaimed, the man laughed not knowing the reference. She was mortified, her inhibitions still fully present as her face went bright red.When everyone had completed their round and burgers, they decided to move to the next bar.

“Did anyone pay for the burgers and drinks?” R asked he and she. Everyone shook their head. R took the opportunity to run out as he and she quickly followed.

Outside it was cold. He had his arm around her, which she used for warmth forgetting to grab her sweater before they headed out for the night. She at least had a scarf on. The second bar was much different from the first. They were hosting a rap battle on their stage that the group, which now added two more women, began to laugh at. The other two women were older as well, one was married and the other was married with three children. The older owner of the gallery was still somewhat clingy on him, which was increasingly getting on her nerves the drunker everyone got and the more sober and tired she felt. He wasn’t exactly fending the woman off, though at this stage of drunk he was constantly apologizing for things at random and going back and forth between feeling like no one liked him and feeling awesome. It was a roller coaster of a night, especially when the woman dared him to get up against these random guys and dance as hysterically as they were. He did, and they crept closer to the stage, not coming back until she physically went to retrieve him. They all decided to leave after R broke a glass by accident that had sat on one of the tables.

This led them to the final bar. One everyone else forgot and only she wished she could have been as lucky. He was getting touchy feely with each girl, grabbing their hands and holding them. Finally, she scolded his actions, getting more and more furious by the moment. The woman began getting handsy as well. Essentially, at this point, the clock nearing 2am, she was done with it. It wasn’t fun for her, nor comical, it was just painful. They did finally leave. All the women surrounding getting tired and hungry. She had cut him off a while back, since she knew when he had had too much from experience. “You are the most beautiful girl in the world and I love you and this baby. Oh my God, I love this baby so much.” He said to her, looking her deep in the eye. What was one night of him being somewhat of a douche? He loved her and always would. The gang stopped at a hotdog place with the last stop being the hotel. The girls weren’t allowed up due to the hotel policy: No visitors past 10. They had apparently had a hooker problem in the past, which made her relieved. He and she went up without R, who followed the gallery owners back to the gallery to hang out. He and she got ready for bed as she took care of him and stroked his hair and back. At 2:30, they were able to sleep, though not comfortably. R had returned in the night and in the morning, she drove the still somewhat drunk boys back home.

Hospital Tour and Doctor Swap

He and she found it difficult to find time to spend together unless it was after 10 on the weekdays. Their weekends had been fairly busy, filled with trips to his hometown as he converted his art studio into his stepdad’s large wood shop. She had gone home, one of the weekends, to her hometown while he stayed back to transfer his stuff. She and her mother spent the weekend shopping for maternity clothes and looking through old photos, bonding over the pregnancy as mother and daughter.

One weekend, when he and she finally had no plans, he helped her proceed with an experiment she had wished to try back in May but had never gotten around to doing so. It was the Anonymous Balloon Project. She had found biodegradable balloons and stuffed each with a letter. The letter was neon in color and instructed the finder to contact the given email address with various other instructions as to what they should include in the email. He had a helium tank at his work. The day was bright and beautiful with weather just perfect for the event. Their hearts raced as they saw the white cloud of 50 balloons gracefully dancing across the sky. They, then, decided to make a run for it, just in case anyone was looking for the culprit. It was validating to know they could accomplish a dream and a goal together, which made her excited about their future and the baby.

Thinking about the future and the baby led her to do some research about doctors in the area. He and she were very unhappy by the rude demeanor of the ultrasound tech and midwife at their university hospital. She felt as though she was trapped on a pregnancy assembly line and that she was just another insignificant piece. A friend at work suggested a local doctor that had delivered the babies of several other coworkers, each loved this woman. She called that afternoon to switch over her appointment from the university hospital to the new hospital that housed Dr. S. Dr. S had only missed one birth in 29 years of practice, which somewhat calmed her nerves. He was excited that they would be going in for another appointment in hopes that they would have another ultrasound picture to take home. The doctor practiced down the street in a quaint little house down the street from the hospital where she would go to give birth in April. “Babe we should go and tour the hospital, you know. We can ask questions and see where I’ll experience terrible pain!” She exclaimed, excited at the same time.

The day of the tour they awoke early, knowing the bug man would be coming to their apartment to install bug traps at his request. It was his way of protecting her and the baby, not wanting them to spray toxic chemicals around where she ate and spent most of her time. It was raining as they parked in the parking garage. They were lost for several minutes, wandering the hospital and asking for directions. “I really hope we find where we are supposed to be much faster when I am in labor. I am SO not walking this far in pain!”

He laughed at her remark, “Don’t worry sweetie. It will be fine.” The desk monitor called the tour guide to come meet them in the lobby of the women’s birth center. The woman walked them through the halls describing where to go, taking them to an empty labor room. It was clean and ready for a baby to be born, equipped with a tub, monitors, and even a TV. The woman introduced them to the fancy security system that made sure no one would walk out of the hospital with their baby and then ended the tour in a recovery room. He and she were pleased to find out that the rooms were all singles and that she would;t have to share the experience with anyone else but her own close family members. The guide explained that there would be renovations on the rooms in the coming months and that she will quite possibly be able to experience the remodel by the time she would need a room. They would have double beds in them: one for he and one for she; and appear more modern. They were happy with the news. They left more excited than ever, though 6 months was a long way away.

When they got back, he began to make her breakfast. They each had about 45 minutes until they had to be anywhere. There was a knock on the door. When she answered, she was faced with the bug man who held a long stemmed sprayer and announced that he was there to spray. He, who stopped making eggs at this point, stopped the bug man from coming in. “You aren’t supposed to spray in here, didn’t the management company tell you?” He questioned, though the man seemed to be clueless. “I called four times to explain that she is pregnant and you can’t spray chemicals around her!” He was getting frustrated, until he saw the man retreat to his truck to get bug traps. He turned back to her a bit deflated, “I don’t get how they didn’t know.” She just smiled and kissed him.

When the bug man returned, it turned out that it was on his order form after all, meaning an oversight where if they hadn’t been there, the man would have sprayed. This made him angry, though once the man was out of his sight he calmed. His love for her was what riled him up, wanting her and the baby to be safe at all times.

The next week was the appointment. The house was as cute and quaint on the inside as it had been on the outside. There were screen printed images that draped the walls, all of which he had a comment on due to his recent experience with screen printing. She filled out paper work as they waited until a nurse brought them both back into the examination room. They ran the usual tests: urine sample, blood pressure, vitals, etc. When this process was complete they finally met Dr. S. Although at first they thought she wouldn’t be as great as anticipated due to an interaction he and she witness in the lobby with Dr. S and the receptionist, the women turned out to be very nice and excited for them. Dr. S didn’t make them feel as insecure as the staff at the university hospital had, this woman made them feel like they had a support system and someone who wanted to help them achieve their own goals in the pregnancy and birth.

They all went back to the examination room where they got to hear the quick pace of their baby’s heart for the first time. Dr. S also had a trick up her sleeve, which was a tiny hand held ultrasound device. Though they didn’t get a printed image, they still were able to see the baby moving and flailing its arms around, almost as though baby was dancing. When the doctor left the room, he and she joked that the baby would be just as dorky as they were, as they sat pantomiming dance moves and laughing at each other.

When they left, they felt an extreme sense of joy and relief. They had found their doctor. She rubbed her arm on the way to the car where they had given her the flu shot (one that didn’t have all the additives like Mercury). When they got in the car, he kissed the top of her head. “I can’t wait to have this baby with you.” He said as he gently placed his hand on the small bump of her stomach.

For the First Time…

He and she were terrified yet excited at the recent discovery that come April they would be parents. A concern her mother had was that she hadn’t seen a doctor to confirm the pregnancy as viable. The date of the first appointment grew near as the anticipation welled up within everyone who had heard of the news. Before the 10 week mark, much could go wrong and she was, at this point, only 8 weeks.

He emailed his teachers, letting them know he wouldn’t be in class that day. The doctor’s appointment, though early, would run past his first class and the start of her shift at 11am. It would be worth it. This appointment would tell them whether or not there really was a living being. Her nerves began to get the best of her as she thought of the well-being of her baby, needles, and blood draws. These were things she knew she would have to deal with, especially in 7 1/2 months when the baby came. He wasn’t sure what to expect at the appointment. The feeling that he needed to be there with her was strong, but he wasn’t sure what he would bring to the table. The pregnancy was so new that it didn’t quite seem real to him. For her, the symptoms were real, but the idea of a being inside her wasn’t.

The ultrasound tech came out into the hallway, calling her name. The woman reached out with her right hand. Instead of handing the woman her chart like the extended hand intended, she too, reached out her right hand for the most awkward handshake ever. She had no clue this is what happened until he explained it to her later, laughing.

He had never before seen her go through the ultrasound process (she had had two in the past summer due to a 6cm cyst that had luckily gone away by this point). The ultrasound technician and what seemed to be a student, walked he and she into the dimly lit room. They had her go to the bathroom and change into a sheet. She was instructed to lie on the table, placing her feet into the stirrups. The doctor seemed somewhat skeptical about the pregnancy, wondering how the last doctor who gave her an ultrasound for the cyst a month ago had seen nothing. She looked to the tiny monitor for any signs of a baby, mildly panicking when all she saw was black, but then there it was. The baby. Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 4.36.16 PMTiny and innocent, not bigger than a grape at this point, but it was real now. They couldn’t stop smiling back and forth at each other. Though the doctor’s assistant wasn’t very gentle, the experience of finally seeing their baby changed everything. Now, it was more real than ever. This was really happening, and in less than 9 months they would meet Baby.

The rest of the appointment seemed long and boring. The one thing that kept them going was the tiny ultrasound photo they were given. The one that they never wanted to put down.

 

Wrecked

After finding out the news that they were going to have a baby come April, he and she decided to spend the weekend cleaning out the spare bedroom in preparation. Saturday was the day of grand plans that turned awry with a few strategically placed happenings that lead to nothing getting done. Friday, on her way out of work, she realized her back passenger tire was low. Once she got to his work it was nearly flat, completely flat at 10pm when they left. He decided to drive them both home that night and put the spare on in the morning in order to drive it to get fixed. That would have been simple enough, but as they had learned, life is full of little surprises.

Saturday morning, a big day for football in their college town, his brother called and asked for a ride to a tailgate. Figuring out how to fit he, she, his brother, and two other girls in his three-passenger truck was going to be rough. As he and she pulled into the parking lot of his brother’s hotel, he began clearing out the front seat for the overload of passengers. Being pregnant, she opted not to sit on anyone’s lap or even be in the car due to the obvious safety hazard. He began the short drive into town as she waited at the hotel for his return, giving her mom a quick call. Within three minutes, he called her. “Did you get pulled over?” She asked confused at why he’d be calling already.

“No, my brakes went out on this truck too…” He stated, upset at the fact that he had gotten this truck three weeks ago to replace the other one with no brakes and a bad transmission. “I almost couldn’t stop. You’re gonna have to walk over to the field where everyone’s tailgating and wait with me.” She wandered over to him, sad at his unfortunate vehicular situation. When she found him, they hugged, both happy she hadn’t been in the car.

The truck wasn’t going anywhere at this point. Knowing this he called a tow truck to take him across the street (not even a block away) to the mechanic for fixing. Other friends picked up his brother and the two girls within ten minutes of the brake blowout, leaving he and she to wait an hour for the tow truck. She was growing increasingly tired (pregnancy will do that to a woman, even only 8 weeks in) unsure how far into this day she would make it without crashing. On the bright side, they had each other and a sweet ride in a tow truck while surrounded by drunken tailgaters. The tow ended up costing him $100 bucks, which for less than a block seemed steep.

A mechanic wouldn’t see his truck for hours and her car sat still in his work parking lot with a flat rear tire. 20 minutes was a long distance away from home and a vehicle that had a quick and simple fix. They walked a block over to the mall right next to the mechanic and spent some time calling every cab service in the area. The football game going on slashed any chance they had at finding transportation. All they got were busy lines. They began calling people they knew for rides but most people they knew were part of the drunken tailgating genre. They had already been walking around since 9:30 and at this point, it was noon. The bus wouldn’t come for another hour and he could see her growing more and more tired from the walking and excitement. He finally called his art professor who finished up her lunch quickly to come and get them. The woman took them to his work at the university to drop them off at her car where he changed her flat tire to the spare in a matter of ten minutes.

From there, they decided to grab some food at the grocery store and finally return home. Upon getting home, he received a call stating that his truck that he just bought for $800 would cost $1600 to fix. This deeply upset him for several hours. All she knew to do was hold him until he was calm while stroking his hair and then change the subject to something happy.

The next day he saw the quote that explained the bill to only be $500 and then rest recommended. No longer trusting this mechanic he decided to find a way to fix it himself. Luckily, her tire had a screw in it and cost only $10 to fix. Although they would have to share a car for a while, they always found a way to make unfortunate situations work. It will be this mentality that helps them through an unplanned pregnancy and any other obstacles they have yet to face.

Be Positive

He and she were having an ordinary week when the conversation rolled over the fact that she was a bit late this month. It wasn’t the most unusual thing, since the pill always messed up her cycle making it always next to impossible to predict. She felt a tad queasy, but this too was something that was normal for her when on the pill…only not during the sugar pill week. He drove them to the nearest Walmart to grab an 88-cent test just to ease their worries as they had several times before. They had spent a short time in the mid afternoon making a whopping $45 at the casino that they used to buy ingredients for a crawfish and shrimp dinner that mimicked the ones in Maine that were dumped across the table for all to crack into and share. They wanted to wait until the next morning to take the test, fearing that it may not be accurate if she took it that night, so they went along with the dinner as though they hadn’t a care in the world.

When the meal was ready, they sat on the floor conversing and enjoying a glass of whiskey and the fun social event they had created for themselves. They learned quickly how to break apart the crawfish and eat the good parts, saving the shrimp for last. “I love you so much.” He said, as they exchanged a kiss and a smile.

“I love you too, sweetie. This was a good idea.” She said holding up her next crawfish victim that she would devour. He agreed as they continued while watching Modern Family.

When they began to slow down, they started back up on the possibility that she was pregnant. “You don’t really think you are, do you?” He questioned in a tone leading her to respond with no. The truth was that she didn’t know. They had had plenty of “scares” that were nothing. She figured this occurrence would be the same. “Why don’t you just take the test now?” He asked.

She walked into the bathroom following the necessary instructions. He entered the bathroom to wait with her. The results headed up the test agonizingly slow. “If the T shows up first and then the C that means I am pregnant.” She clarified to him as they sat and watched. Almost right as she said so, the faintest line began to show on the T line.IMG_6044

“Oh my God.” He said, as she begged for an invalid test, running into the living room to sob and sob. He remained in the bathroom gazing at the test that marked the biggest change in either of their lives and relationship. The sight of her crying and upset sparked a few tears from him as he held her close. He sent a picture of the positive test to his mother, which resulted in an immediate phone call. She was still bawling as his mother attempted to calm her, but at this point all she needed was her own mother there with her. Sadly, her mother was in Hawaii for the next week and, knowing her mother, this wasn’t the news that should be delivered over the phone. He and she went right back out to Walmart for a better test, though that one showed an instant positive. She began to count the days until her mother’s return.

The week felt long as the nausea grabbed hold of her and refused to let go. That Tuesday she called a doctor to set up an appointment. They didn’t want her to come back until she was closer to ten weeks, which apparently is a time where many things can go wrong. Tuesday was also the day she had planned a job shadowing at an animation company, though it was a mute point for her now that she was pregnant, she still thought it would be a fun experience. On several occasions, she nearly puked right in front of everyone there. Now seven weeks along, she still had yet to throw up. It was something she hoped she could just skip. The one thing she wanted the most was to talk to and see her mom. When her mother returned, she called and asked if he and she could go on the annual ski trip come January. She could not yet say to her mom that she couldn’t go because skiing at around 6 months pregnant would be dangerous.

Though it felt like months, Saturday finally came and she headed back to her hometown. He went back to his own hometown, understanding that this was a conversation that she needed to have with her mom alone. It wasn’t hard for her mother to guess as they sat in the nail salon, her mother questioned her motives for coming back without him. “I thought you came back to tell me you were married or knocked up or something.”

“Well, I’m not married…” Her face turned bright red as her mother suddenly realized that her daughter was pregnant. Her mother grabbed her in and held her, shocked but ready to support he and she’s decision to keep the baby. She told her dad over the phone that Monday, though shocked as well, was also supportive. He and she, though caught off guard by the unexpected, were happier than they had ever been, ready for the new baby due in April.

When it Rains it Pours

The past few weeks he and she filled their time with work and preparing for the impending school year. Hers began a week earlier than his, though she wouldn’t be able to participate in the learning. She just worked at a school. He was about to begin his fifth and final year of undergrad work. Although they still worked on building their portfolios, they felt like most of the time nothing was accomplished. Deadlines were approaching fast as she battled with the notion that she already acquired enough student loans at this point and that maybe a cheaper certificate program would be a better choice. In three short months her grace period on her loans would end and the sum of her debt was to be due in increments she was afraid she couldn’t afford. He was worried about whether he would get into the schools he wanted for graduate school, though money was something that came and went in a vicious cycle he chose not to fight with.

This day, however, began with the sound of running water.

She awoke slightly at the sound of a stream of water splashing atop more water. At first it seemed normal, the fish tank made a sound like that. On previous occasions, she had woken him to ask if something was wrong with it or if it was spilling. “No,” he would say, “that’s just the sound it makes in a quite apartment.” Checking her phone, she decided 7:30am was far too early to wake up when she didn’t have work until 11am. She nestled her face into the pillow adjusting it until her face was caress and prepped for more sleep. The sound of running water, again, grabbed her attention until all the sudden it stopped. There was no familiar trickling noised escaping from the living room where the fish tank sat, no more running water, just quite apartment. Her eyes snapped open wide as she jumped up to her feet in a millisecond. Without yet waking him, she ran out into the living room. All she could see without her glasses or contacts was the tank at the halfway mark. She almost couldn’t believe her eyes.

“Babe! Babe! The fish tank!” She cried out. He didn’t even hesitate, as he leapt from the bed to see the disaster in the living room. She grabbed her glasses to better see the mess. The water had sprayed across the entire room, slashing the couch, the expensive purple rug they loved, and drowned the carpet. The outcome was simply murderous, not only to their apartment but to their relationship.

They both had separate ways of handling the situation. She approached it calmly, throwing down towels and moving things into positions where they could dry. He was totally freaking out without a better way to be described. From his stress emerged anger, which spewed into the morning air, hurdling towards her with high velocity. She attempted to disengage by stating that his anger would do nothing for the situation, though this bomb wasn’t as easily diffused.

They headed down the street to their grocery store where he rented a rug doctor to suck up excess water. Deciding she had had it with his temper, she stayed in the car while he went in. The woman at the desk was taking her sweet time, as he impatiently grew even more frustrated. The woman attempted a joking banter but he dismissed it and went on with the rental.

When they got home, they went back and forth pushing blame and anger in every direction until he finally, after two hours, finished sucking water from the rug and the carpet. They had both had enough, sitting in separate rooms doing their own thing until they had to carpool to class and work. Time had seemed to ease the tension as he came from where he’d been and apologized for his behavior. Not every day could be the best but luckily the worst had already past by 10am.

That night, they enjoyed a lovely meal of shrimp Alfredo, watched TV shows, and drank a nice glass of whiskey.

Making New Friends

He was a bit uneasy when it came to making new friends. Not because he was anti-social but because his track record was mildly torn by the fallout between he and T. She wasn’t the best at having friends either, since he and she rarely liked to spend much time apart. To some people, this is unhealthy or odd, but to them it felt like being able to spend as much time as they wanted with their best friend. They couldn’t understand couples who didn’t live this way, though understood that everyone in this world is different. In an attempt to broaden the spectrum, she spent a morning and an afternoon cleaning the apartment so they could have some company over. At the school where she worked, there were a number of young teachers that held the possibility of friendship. One in particular, though not to be confused by the revenge hungry character on Pretty Little Liars, A was a friendly girl with tattoos on her right forearm. Since she had a tattoo of her own on her left inner bicep, this sparked conversation. A told she about her boyfriend E and expressed that they lived a building away from he and she’s own apartment.

He was a bit frustrated at the thought of entertaining for the evening but when E and A showed up with some mixers, the party begun. The four hit it off, talking non-stop and inviting a couple other people over (Another girl from her work who brought a guy friend along). Those two were the first to leave, stating that they rode their bikes from miles away. He, she, E, and A took a 30 second stroll over to E’s place for another drink and a tour. It looked similar to he and she’s place thought a tad smaller with the opposing set-up. By this time, they were pretty well off into the night as the clock ticked towards two in the morning. They all laughed and conversed about a number of things as they all headed back over to he and she’s place for a final drink. She nearly fell asleep in her chair as E and A got up to leave for the night. It had been a long week for everyone but the night of fun and new friendships seemed to relieve some of the tension that had built. Though she woke with a massive hangover, he and she carried out the weekend happily working on art projects and glad they had made some new friends.

A Weekend of Surprises

They had finally come to terms with being back home, though they had spent the weeks in between looking at colleges. She wanted to get another degree; one in film and animation. He was looking to further his education by getting his Masters in Fine Arts. They searched all the schools in the country for ones that had what they both needed, ending up with twelve choices. They knew they would eventually narrow it down a bit but as for now they would have to buckle down and create at least 15 art pieces each for their portfolio submissions. It was exciting for them to have somewhat of a plan for the future. She liked her job at the school but it wasn’t paying the bills the way it needed to. Money was tight but they somehow made it work month-by-month.

On Friday night, he texted her at work, telling her that she should go home after instead of meet up with him at his art building desk monitor job. There they would usually talk about art or life, maybe watch Netflix to pass the time. Not this Friday. He wanted her to be home and dressed nice-casual at seven when his shift ended. From there, he’d texted “I’m gonna plan something for us to do. I’ll come get you when I get off.” She quickly raced home to shower and ready herself for a surprise evening. This wasn’t a common occurrence in their relationship, since they usually just stayed in to save money.

At seven, the door swung wide as he stood in the doorway already in nice attire. “Are you ready to go?” He asked looking her up and down, admiring the dark jeans and dress shirt she wore for him. She didn’t have to answer to respond but a mere smile and nod sent them out the door into the evening.

In the car they discussed the contents of their day breifly as she attempted to guess where they were headed. To her the surprise was that he was surprising her in the first place. Things like this didn’t happen often, so she was appreiciating every moment of it.

He pulled into the driveway of a brewery/restaurant that they had only been to once for a quick beer. “I am ordering us some bacon cheese fries.” He announced, having looked at the menu online before picking her up. They ordered the appetizer and some beers as they looked through the menu for their main course. Hamburgers just seemed to fit the meal as they ordered two different types. He played a game with her, asking which he would choose befre he ordered. Her first guess was the one he went for, since she had been right; he did, in fact, love bleu cheese the most on a burger and although there was peanut butter on it as well, she knew he liked to try anything once.

When the meals came, she was feeling a slight buzz since she hadn’t remembered to bring lunch to work that day and was feeling a bit starved. They scarfed down the fries practically forgetting about the hamburgers they ordered. He ate majority of his though she couldn’t bare to touch hers after all the fries and beer. “What else do you want to do tonight?” He asked her.

“I don’t know. I kind of want to drink more.” He smiled and told her to text one of their mutual friends, D. He had known him longer than she had but this friend was one they had in common and both liked. D had agreed to meet them at one of the campus bars for a drink or two. A few months prior they had come to this same bar. D had ordered one of every martini on the menu which had been around twelve that he shared with the table. This night, he and she got their own selected drinks and left it at that. It was fun to hang out with D for an hour or so, though they left him early knowing they had to wake-up early for a surprise party in her home town.

The next morning they headed out a tad late. He was going to pick up a planer that he found on eBay though she insisted they get to the party first and retrieve the new equiptment after. As they pulled up to her aunt’s house, she noticed her stepdad’s car. He parked behind it. She walked to the nearest house, certain it was her aunt’s. Since she had only been there once before, she couldn’t be too sure. As she rang the doorbell, a man she did not recognize stepped out. She asked him if her aunt lived there but all she got was a confused, “No…?” It was at this moment that she realized the number on the house across the street was her aunt’s. He stood back and laughed as they moseyed across the street. The cars had been parked down the way so that her grandmother wouldn’t see.

“It’s about time!” Her mother exclaimed as they all exchanged hugs. The party was going even though her grandmother had not yet arrived. It wasn’t for another 15 minutes that her grandmother arrived, inching her way up to the door as her family and he hid behind walls and furniture. What felt like several minutes of hiding later, the familiar sound of her grandma’s voice reached across her aunt’s house. Just as the footsteps grew closer, everyone leapt from their hiding spots, “Surprise!”

“Oh my God.” Her grandma exclaimed with a wide grin. She was happy to be able to come and spend a few hours with her mother’s side of the family. After some food, conversation, and cake, he and she left to pick up the planer for his studio and headed back three and a half hours home.

Mexico

He and she had only flown on a plane one other time, which was from New York back home. This vacation would be different than the last. His parents had invited them to come along with all expenses paid (they could not afford it otherwise). Upon arrival the heat was stifling, though he and she welcomed it with open arms. Due to the fact that they had awoken at 3am to make their 5am flight, their fight for consciousness was a difficult battle. When they got to the Paradisus Hotel in Cancun, the all-inclusive eight-day venture would begin. He and she were granted their own room. Walking in, it felt as though they were in a dream, one where they were older with a well-supplied bank account and endless vacation days, one where there were three meals a day and no worry of whether the next paycheck will be enough.

For the first few days they lazed around the pool, drinking and relaxing, catching sun through 50spf. He was the one who suggested quite enthusiastically on the 4th of July that they go to CoCo Bongo. His brother, the one who shared her first and middle name, came along with them. One thing about the all-inclusive resort that she was highly excited for was free sushi. Before CoCo Bongo, everyone had joined to eat at the sushi place called Bana. He and she ordered 4 rolls each with a few cups of sake to start their night of drinking.

He, she, and his younger brother headed to CoCo Bongo on the bus. She was unsure of their carbon copy slip of a ticket but he seemed confident, so she went with it. Upon arrival, the night was alive. People were dressed up as box office stars willing to be photographed as long as they received a couple bucks in return. There was music blaring from hidden speakers and a line down the street all waiting for a night of shows and booze. He scrambled around looking for someone who could give them their wristbands. A man came by connecting the yellow bracelets that indicated free drinks at any bar inside the club. The wait seemed a tad long until a different man came out offering drinks on a tray that were much stronger than they looked. After more waiting, the velvet link holding them back was released and the trio was set free into the night. They were led through several sets of bars and escalators before making their way into the main area where there were women already dancing on the bars.

“Let’s grab some beers before the show starts!” He yelled over the pumping music. Leaning into the bar he ordered them drinks though the bartender had already slid three shots of tequila toward them. She and his brother made eye contact, both not fans of the stuff but figuring they were there to drink, they all knocked them back. It was then that they were handed their beers. Once finding a nice place to stand, they watched as the show begun. There were shows based off of Phantom of the Opera, Moulin Rouge, Spiderman, Beetlejuice, and a variety of musical numbers by famous pop icons like Michael Jackson. The amount of confetti at this event was more than they had seen in all three of their lives combined. They had to remember every time they went off to cover their drinks or else they would later be surprised by the papery texture with a swig of beer.

The night ran into the early hours of the morning as they danced and drank. He and his brother complained of aches in their feet and insisted they call it a night. Just as they were leaving, the cast of the show got up onto the middle bar. For lack of a better word, a midget, who was part of the cast, began pouring tequila shots in people’s mouths. He scooped up all her hair in his hand and nudged her toward the man on the bar who gladly poured the shot straight into her mouth. “I hate tequila, but that was pretty awesome!” She claimed as they stammered out of the club. They grabbed a cab back to the hotel, and she was happily united with the leftover sushi waiting for them in the room.

The next couple days they took it easy, lounging at the pool, again visiting the swim-up bar. He wanted to take her to La Isla de Mujeres and spend the day while his brother and mother went to swim with sharks in a tank. He and she took a ferry ride and rented a golf cart to drive around the island. It was a beautiful and romantic getaway for them as they stopped at major tourist points. They grabbed a beer at a local restaurant as she felt the sunburns draped across her shoulders. They had begun to blister. When he noticed her attempting to pop them, he swatted her hand away warning that it would make it worse. The heat was a reason they kept close to the golf cart as well as the fact that a few vendors tried dealing them drugs when all she was in search of was a souvenir. Jail time in Mexico wasn’t quite the “something special” she was looking for. It felt free out there, almost like they had the funds to do stuff like this on their own as a couple. Before heading back, they stopped and had enchiladas at a local restaurant.

The trip was coming to an end far too soon. For their final days, they all rode jet skis. She wanted to ride with him though he went wild almost losing her several times. They eventually switched places, but they learned that from then on separate jet skis was the way to go. When they got back to the pool, a man was there holding a small brown monkey. She had always liked monkeys though she was somewhat terrified of them. He encouraged her to hold it and get her picture taken, pushing her into an already growing line. When she walked up to the man, the monkey got on her shoulder, wrapping its tiny hand across her face and smiling at a cameraman. He and his brother also got pictures taken. The man asked he and she for images together. Even though they would have loved the pictures, $17 for a single tiny print didn’t seem worth it. They decided to capture the memory in their mind instead.

He and she made a final reservation for two at Bana for more sushi (no one else was a fan of sushi). They felt a tad sick from all the food and alcohol they had consumed over the eight-day period. Heading to the airport was a sad venture that was inevitable. He and she boarded two more planes and endured two, two-hour car rides before finally making it back to their apartment and their cats. They spent the rest of the weekend lounging around and catching back up with reality before fully starting back up on Monday.

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