I Fucking Need You Now Tonight. I Fucking Need You More than Ever

After having gone a whole day at work without a peep out of Red Beard (no reply to my email, nothing) last night on my way home, I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. We always touch base midday and plan on what we’re doing for dinner, and he lets me know if we’re going out Thursday night. As I continued on my drive home, I began to feel a keen bit of dread. Was he out already? Was he hard at work? Would he be home on time, would he be late? Was he stuck in traffic too? Conscious of my pending state of nag-hood, I resisted the urge to pick up the phone, especially seeing as I’d already emailed him and he chose not to respond.

I called Socialite to see if she could shed some light on this entire day of no check in, plus the whole “I’m taking off for Atlantic City dammit and I don’t have to answer to you” attitude. Having once been such an offender herself (someone who would be seriously late and not call to say what’s up and who would generally run her own life regardless of her husband’s outbursts) she explained it to me. “It’s a power struggle. He’s simply not in the mood to answer to someone. Even though this has absolutely nothing to do with power -- he doesn’t know that -- it’s actually that he’s showing a lack of courtesy. He showed a lack of courtesy when he made plans to take off for a weekend without asking you if it meshed with your calendar, but he thinks it’s about power and not having to check in with you. He wants to control his own actions without your input.”

Socialite continued by telling me what it’s like from his side of the fence. A relationship can feel sometimes like someone is trying to put a leash on you. He wanted to go to Atlantic City and it didn’t suit him to tell his friends that he needed to check with his girlfriend if that weekend was okay. He wanted to go and he didn’t want to ask permission. He went ahead with his plans like a steamroller, because it felt constraining to him to “ask his mommy” so to speak.

It made me feel better to get an idea of what was going on. Really though, it was all speculative and it didn’t solve anything, but I still felt better to have a possibility in mind rather than feeling totally bewildered.

While I was on the phone with Socialite, Red Beard called. He said he was going to happy hour with work people, and he would be home by 7. He said we should just “wing it” for dinner, which is basically what we refer to as rummaging through the cabinets to eat whatever suits our fancy, as opposed to our standard, cooked sit-down meals. I called Socialite back and we continued our chat. Still on the phone, I walked in the door and sat down on the couch in front of a pile of Christmas cards.

Socialite suggested that when Red beard got home, I sit him down and have a chat. She said that’s what her husband had done to her. There was a time when the tables were turned, and Socialite was calling and calling, but he wasn’t picking up. She was really worried about him, and she hated not being able to reach him. Her husband took the opportunity to tell her, “Now you know what it feels like.” He explained that there are two people in the relationship and you can’t just run your own show. It’s a simple consideration to let the other person know where you are and if you’ll be late and what your plans are. It’s not about power and control, it’s about providing your partner with peace of mind.

I told her, “Speaking of peace of mind, he said he’d be home at 7. I’d like to point out it’s now 7:35. Anyway, it sounds like a great idea to let him know how I feel, but we just had a huge fight on Friday about this. I told him how I felt, and he blew up at me and refused to agree that we need to be on the same page before he takes off for a weekend. I’m not sure he would get the point right now, since our last discussion went horribly wrong. I think I need to give it some time to see … maybe it will be how he operates, or maybe this is just a phase. Besides, if I get in a fight with him right before he leaves on his trip, I’m afraid he’ll spend the entire weekend with his face between a stripper’s tits and then I’ll have to hose him down with bleach before I let him back into the apartment.”

As 8 o’clock loomed and he wasn’t home and he hadn’t called to say he was running late, I was really getting irritated. I told Socialite, “Since when am I the cranky clock-watching pain in the ass girlfriend? He doesn’t feel like coming home, and he doesn’t want to communicate that to me? Two can play at that game.” Socialite agreed, I should get out and distract myself, maybe head to a Barnes & Noble to browse. We got off the phone, I turned out the lights, and I went out to get my nails done.

As I was sitting on the pedicure throne, my cell rang. Red Beard was finally in the door (an hour and a half late) and he was wondering why he was coming home to a dark apartment. I was cordial as I told him where I was and that I’d be home in a half hour. I took deep breaths, and thought, “Do not pick a fight. This isn’t worth it. He’ll be gone all weekend, and you don’t want hard feelings. Breathe, breathe…”

When I walked in the door, he was on the couch playing video games. I said hello as I went into the kitchen to see what we had to eat. He called me to come over for a hug. I plopped myself on top of him and gave him a peck on the neck. Then I got up and poured myself a bowl of cereal and a glass of wine. I sat down next to him and he continued to play his video game, so I cracked open a book.

We continued like that for a little while, his video game blaring while I read silently and ate my cereal. Usually I’m a good sport and I’ll watch while he plays, but now? Not so much. Nope, not in the mood to be a good sport. He looked at me and said, “Hello?”

I smiled, put my book down and said, “Hhhiii.” He turned off his game and turned on the television and we watched South Park for a little while. Then he turned out the lights and went into the bedroom, always our cue to wind down for the night. He turned on the TV in the bedroom so we could watch the last ten minutes of the show.

I got up to get ready for bed, and then after I snuggled down under the covers, Red Beard said, “Tomorrow I have to go Christmas shopping after work.”

I said, “I thought you were going to Atlantic City after work.”

He clarified, “No, that’s Saturday morning. Why, did you have plans?”

I let out a weak, “Um, no.”

He asked, “Do you not want me to be here Friday night?”

I told him, “No, I’m just surprised.”

He said, “Well, I have to go Christmas shopping, so I need you to send me an email tomorrow with all of your sizes, all of the dimensions of your body.” He smiled as he pointed to my finger. “Your ring size, your boobs, your waist … everything.” Then he spooned me. He said, “I don’t know how you put up with me.”

I mused, “I was just wondering the same thing.”

He jokingly got all offended and stopped with the spooning and shoved me over to my side of the bed. I softened up a little, laughed and snuggled up to his side with my head on his chest.

Right before we fell asleep he said, “I don’t know how I ever lived without you. You’re the love of my life.”

I told him, “And you’re the love of my life, too.”

This morning on my way to work, I was feeling 99% better. No bad feeling in the pit of my stomach, no anger about the holiday party or his unexplained timekeeping breach. I thought to myself how love isn’t enough to sustain a relationship. It also requires effort and healthy communication. But I can’t be mad at him right now. It’s almost impossible to put up a fight when you’re faced with the fact that you’ve found the love of your life.

I don't know if he remembers that he told me I'm the love of his life, since it wasn't clear this morning whether he recalls stuffing his belly button lint into my navel last night. But whatever. Details shmetails.

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