I’d Rather Go Read A Book

We played catch up the other weekend. Since we don’t live close to each other, we have to cram everything in to one weekend. Plus, Owen wanted me to meet his friends and family so he could tell me that he loved me. Right? I’m right. It’s easier if he just admits it, darling.

Owen met my HLM and Big Sexy and he already knew he loved them. He even met my family, coming to Easter and being nervous that my dad would ask him to pray and he was “trying to remember Catholic prayers from childhood”. Yeesh. But they didn’t. My siblings were funny and kind and the best versions of themselves. My nieces and nephews called him Mister Owen. They asked him mildly inappropriate questions about war and battle and he gently answered their curiosity with kind responses. They think he’s especially cool. He had a particular bond with my oldest niece-relating to her desire to be treated like a grown up. It’s funny how childlike Owen acts, but wants to be taken seriously. The thing is, he’s already enough. Without being ridiculous and pushing buttons and accepting every piece of attention. She’ll learn that soon too. We ended up having some alone time with my parents when everyone else left. We got Sonic and sat in the back seat of the car. It felt like being 17 again. My family loves him. My mom and sister in law are particularly worried about his faith. But then again, so am I. Mom was quick to tell me that he’s a good fit for me though. Funny and interesting. And doesn’t just put up with my shit. That Owen challenges me. Boy, does he.

Gah. I adore him.

Anyways, we spent a weekend with his best friend and his wife and their boring couple friends. The four of them shared a hotel room. I think I may have actually died had he forced me to share a hotel room with them. They literally came to Austin loaded up with super cheap (hangover-for-sure) level alcohol and fruit punch. Like high school. I wasn’t thrilled, especially since earlier in the day, we had celebrated Big Sexy’s birthday on a rented boat on the lake with 10 other people. Owen drank too much. It’s strange to me that he still doesn’t exactly know what that means. And that he would push his limits when he drove me in his car, which is a manual, and he knows I can’t drive that. It was a good time on the boat though. I just wish Owen could fully understand (rightthisverysecond) what it looks like when he drinks too much when he probably should be taking care of me. His values are off. His priorities are wrong. I’ll give him time though. Just not forever.

Anyways, we get to the hotel after that long day full of alcohol and sun. And they want to GO OUT that night. I’m trying to rally and so is he. We go to an Italian place for dinner. We’re so exhausted that the earth feels like its off its axis. We don’t have anything to say to each other that won’t be like the Snickers commercials before they beat their hanger. I’m dreading the evening. However, I rally. I look cute in this skort that shoes off my legs and a swingy spaghetti strapped crop top. Cute. Casual. Austin-y. I wear flats because I’m not a fucking freshman. The other two girls look like a sorta cheap version of Uptown Dallas-ites. My Chicago bff tells me to be nice when I Snapchat her this…it’s true. I try to suck it up. I order my favorite drinks. I join in on the “coolest concert you’ve ever been to” conversation. Little did I know that this would new the most that your best friend actually talks to me. I rally to make it to the next bar when they want to hop. Owen later mentions that he saw lots of men “noticing” me. Well. Yes. That’s what bar hopping entails, friend. He mentions that maybe he should be jealous. I just rolled my eyes. We stand in little circles Owen and his BFF just scream-talk in inside jokes and movie references and basically seem like 20 year old frat boys. No one asks me anything. Everyone pretends they’re having fun. The male counterpart of the boring couple comes over to me and starts hitting on me. No one notices. We finally hop to the third place. It has music! And dancing! And Owen says he doesn’t want anything when I squeeze up to take my place at the bar. Really? YES. I order him a club soda and reach over the bar to get extra limes. This way, no one will bother him. Also, now that I know that he’s staying sober, I loosen up. We’re finally somewhere fun, I feel safe, and literallynone of them dance. Who are these people? They talk about “getting fucking lit” and then are essentially no fun. They order cheap drinks even though we’re all adults. They don’t dance. This is the time to get a buzz as we can walk home, andnow  they choose to stay sober? Like, I’m glad. But also confused about their choices.

We spend that night wrapped up together. He frustrates me. He didn’t cater to me at all that day. His bff had almost nothing to say to me. But I can tell he’s frustrated with their planning skills. That he’s trying to learn to balance this new thing; this not being single and 20. And, grumpy, exhausted, we relax in to each other.

The next morning, BFF’s Wife gets sick in the van to lunch. BFF tells her to hold it in. He unsympathetically tells her to tell the driver to turn up the air. He doesn’t take care of her at all. Owen and I yell from the backseat for the driver to pull over. BFF’s Wife hops out of the car, pukes in the trash can on the sidewalk, then HOPS BACK IN WITH A SMILE ON HER FACE AND SAYS SHE FEELS BETTER. The whole brunch is more of the boys saying super inapprorpriate inside jokes. I have nothing to contribute. Plus, I’m fuming that BFF is pissed that his wife keeps getting up to dry heave in the bathroom. No kindness. “She shouldn’t have mixed alcohols” he gruffs. WTH?! I don’t understand how they could encourage these behaviors in each other and then not take care of each other. Later in the day, we’re napping in our room and Owen asks me about it. He tries to defend his friend saying that she does this too much and BFF is sick of it. “I get that that’s frustrating” I concede. Owen says “but you don’t agree at all do you?” I say I don’t. And that’s it. Not much else to say. I imagine it’s hard to see your BFF look like a complete ass. It’s also hard to see your boyfriend be best friends with someone that treats his wife like that. ANd hard not to think “MY friends would NEVER treat their spouses like that”. But…they wouldn’t.

We hike down to the green belt later. They complain that it’s not deep. It’s a creek. In Texas. In the summer. It’s not going to be flowing. They complain that they’re exhausted. They bring cheap alcohol mixed with punch to drink. The girls are both overflowing their bikinis with their beer fat bellies. They wear the mismatched swimsuit bottoms and tops that girls do when they realize their boobs have massively exploded in relation to their small hips. They wear their sorority tank tops. Owen looks ridiculous in super short shorts and awful green tiger striped sunglasses. Normally, his silly clothes don’t bother me, but in combination with continued exhaustion and nothing to talk about with these people, I am about done. I pour myself a whiskey ginger and take my sexy side scooped one piece clad self out into the middle of the creek and ask the girls lots of polite questions. They’re not so bad when they’re away from their husband/boyfriend. I just keep thinking about how much more fun we’d have with my friends. About how my friends aren’t dependent on alcohol to have something to say to each other.

We get back to the hotel to shower up before dinner. Owen is frustrated because his friends won’t stick to a plan. He gets more upset when he realizes they didn’t make reservations for a Saturday night Memorial Weekend in Downtown Austin for dinner. His other military friend (Johnny Bravo) is driving in from 30 minutes away to eat and go out with us. We end up ditching his friends and going to dinner with Johnny Bravo. At this point, I am SO grateful to see Johnny Bravo and actually be acknowledged. I’m happy to hear them talk about something besides South Park and drinking. And I’m happy to see Owen truly smile at me for the first time in two days. It feels like we can each take a deep breath again. We eventually meet up at a cool bar on West 6th. And then, they sit there. Not really talking. Not dancing.

So, like, why did we choose to have a cool downtown Austin weekend with super boring people?

Owen asks me what I thought of them and I say “I really like how much effort BFF’s Wife made in accepting me and being excited to get to know me. And I really appreciate that you and BFF are so close to each other. I know that means a lot to you. But it was a little hard to get to know him in this partying kind of element. I felt like you were super stressed and everyone was exhausted. I’d love to have a more chill weekend with them sometime.”

“Hmm…well…I mean, we always go out when I see them. Because I don’t see them that often. Well, I guess sometimes we play video games together…hmm…yea…okay…”

I don’t respond. Because, I mean, how is that friendship? That’s your party friend. Just because you like to drink with someone and quote South Park, that does not mean I need to be included. Go on ahead. But I’d rather go read a book.

He told me a few days later “let’s not do that again. That weekend was too full. I was stressed out.” He also told me, “you did so great. I loved every second. You are so wonderful.” So, basically, he’s infatuated with me. And the fact that I nodded and smiled and rallied and didn’t complain even though I wanted to tell him the weekend was SO NOT FUN.

Here’s the thing, he’ll recognize that on his own. It seems like he’s already starting.

Think that’s the end of that weekend? Think again. After all of that, we drove up to meet his family…

Making (Tentative & Bold) Plans

Alright, so now that I got that out of the way. We actually agree. On lots of things. But we’re both terrified. He’s scared he’s going to have to change. And I’m scared I’m not going to have control .

It’s laughable. A relationship without change, growth, adaptation, compromise, giving in…?

We’re hilarious really.

He’s nervous I won’t like his wild friends. I’m nervous he’s going to get plastered and embarrass me. Reality? I actually really enjoy going out. I haven’t had someone to do that with in a long time. Good drinks, fun people, dancing, music? I love it all. And, I’ve never actually heard of him drinking. Since we met, I’ve been the over-drinker. He’s stayed in most nights playing video games. And he got us a separate hotel room from his friends so that I would feel comfortable.

He over-explains his family. I get nervous that they’re heathens. Reality? They’re probably insanely lovely. I’m going to show them how funny, smart, and kind I find him. They’ll like us together most of the time, and sometimes, they’ll be confused because he’ll seem different. But, that is literally all relationships. When two people join, they make their own life together. Their own rules, traditions, rhythms. It’s okay. These people love him. And I lo…like him. We’ll get along.

I hate the distance part. He hates the distance part. Reality? We’ve each done our own thing for a long time. It’s actually not that far away. And if we stay together, being apart is completely part of that. More reality? We’re probably not that great at understanding each other on it so far. We REALLY like each other. But he’s hesitant to admit his feelings (see the scared of changing part) until I meet his friends and family. And I’m scared of being in a relationship (see the loss of control fear) and not being able to predict the outcome of all things. More reality? We’re still good to each other. We’re balancing it. We’re planning weekends: Memorial Weekend with his bff & his wife, and then a cookout with his family, then a ball in June, and then a whole week together. We’re flying in to Boston so I can show him what my life was there. Then traveling up the coast and “staying in bed and breakfasts and watching the sunrise on the coast!” (totallllllly wants a wild life…) of New Hampshire and Maine until we watch his friends get married.

We suck at this. Or maybe we’re normal.

Truly, I’m excited to find out.

This guy. He drives me nuts.

Love Field’s Calling Card

In my wallet I have approximately 6 different punch cards for various coffee shops. I have an expired voters registration (don’t condemn me! my updated one is at home), my Target card, business cards that I never hand out, and the remnants of a washing machine chewed up drivers license. I also still have the drink coupon that a mister D. Jackson gave me in Love Field one day.

I was traveling back from a work conference. Tired of my coworkers, in need of delicious food and a decent drink, I stopped in to the mid-scale wine bar in the Southwest Airlines hub of the airport. I ordered a little flight of wine and opened up my book.

Within 5 minutes, I felt that prickle. The one that rises the minuscule hairs behind your ears. The same ones that long to be breathed upon and lightly kissed. The spot that everyone want to feel the brush of lips. Those hairs instinctually know that someone worth knowing is standing behind you. Gazing at the seat next to you.

The man sits down next to me at the bar. He asks me what I’m drinking and for a recommendation. He looks like a cross between Anderson Cooper and the nice guy you date in college. Mr. Jackson asks me why I’m traveling, what I enjoy doing, and tells me about his life as an environmental engineer. He talks about grey water systems and business.

Mr. Jackson and myself talk for an hour. He gets up to leave and conspiratorially half whispers, “Well, it was a pleasure meeting you. This is the best conversation I’ve had in a long time. I’ve successfully waited out the traffic.” He slips me a drink coupon, “Have a drink from me.”

I attempt to google him a few weeks later. No traces of Mr. College Boy Cooper. The Instinctual Hairs will need to keep up their vigilant watch.

And the drink coupon sits expired in the little zippered pouch. A calling card perhaps?