In the aftermath of a trip to the emergency room with Mr. U, I was feeling vulnerable about our relationship. I couldn't pin point who, what, where, when, how or why but I was simply overwhelmed and worried about the whole thing. As it turned out, I wouldn't have to wait very long before finding out if my anxiety was justified.
Unfortunately for me (as it really, REALLY) just wasn't my week, I was scheduled for a root canal the morning after my freak allergic reaction that sent me to GW hospital. While ordinarily I might have cancelled, it's not like I didn't have a great excuse, I still would've had to pay the $75 per half hour of appointment time (in my case = a whopping $225) for canceling and the dentist doing no work (!) but also its just plain rude and also it had taken great pains to get me a referral and scheduled appointment with this particular specialist and also if not now, I'd simply have to do it later. So let's just get this over with I thought...
It was stressful. After a night in the emergency room and then not much sleep I found myself lying in a sterile room surrounded by people, poking and prodding and twisting and turning me and confining me in contraptions. It was to say the least - unpleasant. And stressful. And I was completely exhausted. They give you an Ipod so you can listen to music. You can pick an artist or album from a list beforehand. I chose - James Taylor. In theory, this wasn't a bad choice. I haven't heard much James Taylor in about 10 years. When I was in high school choir we used to do renditions of his songs like - "Shower the People You Love With Love..." as in "Make it Rain...with Sunshine..." This clearly was the song I was thinking of when I thought - oh gee- this will be relaxing and upbeat and make me feel better while I'm feeling crappolo. Unfortunately - I forgot that a lot of James Taylor's songs are a bit of a downer. Low tempo. His girl has left him. He's down and out. There is a burden to bear. It was a bit tough. So there I am, helpless...Listening to "Sweet Baby James" trying to stop myself from bursting into tears in the middle of a dentist chair, in the middle of a procedure.
There is a young cowboy he lives on the range
His horse and his cattle are his only companions
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go
There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
Won't you let me go down in my dreams
And rock-a-bye sweet baby James
When I was finally freed from my chair, it was like I was in a fog. It had been a rough couple of days. And now I had to go to work - (work!!!) - because I couldn't take the day off and my boss had been calling me wondering how much longer this whole thing was gonna take (like I was out to mimosa brunch or something!) and when I was going to get back to the office. It would be a sweet sort of satisfaction when I arrived shortly thereafter and he saw my face all swollen and crooked like a deformed clown and I could barely talk. He was sympathetic then. I can't say such nice things about the rest of my coworkers who begged me to say something, anything (as if I had an adorable Irish or British or Australian accent or something) and then laughed and laughed and laughed at how ridiculous I looked and sounded. Fuckers. I mean, it was all in good fun, but still...
The day started out rough. And it would remain rough. I had a ton of things to do. Pressure from everyone to get them done. My mouth was swollen and in pain. I was completely exhausted. Things generally sucked. And then...I got a phone call.
"T?" "Yes..." "Could you please come down to reception please..." "I'll be right there." Reception? I thought. Reception? Why do I have to go to reception. I wasn't expected anybody.
When I got down there. There he was. Mr. U. -- with pink roses. In one of his shiny, debonair suits. Holding roses for christ's sake. With a grin on his face.
Now...you might be swooning and smiling yourself. Thinking I'm one lucky lady and I should've be pleasantly surprised and happy to see him. But I wasn't. I would perhaps come to regret my feelings and the behavior that I would display next. But I can't take them back. I was generally horrified to see him. And just not in the mood. He'd caught me at the worst possible moment. I was tired, I was busy as all get out. I was still working through my own feelings and decompressing from the emergency situation the night before and I was feeling ugly and awkward and in pain from the dental surgery. I didn't want to see him. I didn't want to see anybody. But especially not him being all sweet and nice and giving me roses and doting on me and seeing how I was. Because the truth was, I was miserable. And had a thousand miserable things to do while I was miserable. And I just wanted to hole myself up in my office and get those thousands of things done and get the hell out of there so I could hole myself in another hole - called home. But I wasn't so lucky.
"What are you doing here?" I asked him. "I came to see how you were doing," he said still grinning. "Um...you have to go." I said. I pushed the elevator button and didn't even attempt to hide my annoyance. We went down stairs. "I'll walk you back to your office." I said. I couldn't even look at him. I have no idea what thoughts were going through his head. But he couldn't have been very reassured. "You don't have to," he said. "Really. If you're busy." I walked him back to his office and asked him about his day on the way. When we got there I gave him a very awkward, almost too long hug, still not really looking at him in the face and then headed back to my office.
So...its official. I. am. an idiot. My lovely boyfriend in an attempt to be as good to me as ever comes to my office to check up on me to make sure I'm okay and to bring me roses and I treat him like that? Fucking. idiot.
I went up back into my office and back onto the elevator and just felt numb. When I got to my floor I looked around for an empty conference room and left the flowers in there to hide them. I just didn't feel like my coworkers seeing them and then asking me about them. I didn't want to be fussed over. But despite my best efforts, I wouldn't have that convenience.
Several hours later, my supervisor came in and asked - "Does someone have roses in the conference room?" She looked around the floor. People were shaking their heads. Nope. Not me. "They're mine," I finally piped up. "Oh," she said. "Those are nice. Why did you have them in there? It's not your birthday is it?" "No, no" I said while silently forgiving her for not remember my birthday was like 3 weeks ago. "Well then why do you have them?" another coworker wanted to know. Oy vay! So I explained. "Oh, I don't know. Mr. U was here earlier. I just felt weird about it. He's always doing things for me. I didn't want to brag and gush about him ALL the time."
And then the shit storm rained down on me. Apparently I'm a completely ungrateful girlfriend. Who doesn't deserve him. I shouldn't have shuttled him out of the office. I should have displayed his flowers on my desk proudly. They'll take him and the flowers, if I didn't want them. Ugh. So instead of remaining hidden and holed up, head down, work done, I became the complete center of negative attention. Double ugh. And then I started to feel really, really guilty. And stupid.
I wrote Mr. U an email:
"Thank you very much for the flowers and for checking in. You are wonderful and I appreciate it. Sorry if I was a little weird/off but you really caught me at a bad time and off guard. If you ever need/want to meet with me again during work hours it should be outside the building or in the front lobby on the first floor and I'd appreciate a call first. Also, after you left last night, I got a lot worse and my face is still a little swollen and its hard for me to talk and last night was stressful and awful and I have so much on my plate today I really just need to focus and push through."
It wasn't a perfect email. But it's what I had in me at the time. Everyone says I was completely silly about not wanting him to surprise me at work. That no one cared but me. Probably true. They said I'd never get flowers or surprises again for all the grief I'd given him. Shit. Shit. Shit. So let me go through this again, I actually had a boyfriend who was thoughtful enough to surprise me and bring/send me flowers. And I'd basically told him not to? Geez I'm bad at this.
He responded shortly with a text message. "Got email. It is a-ok. Good luck with your tough day."
Which only made things worse. Which is why I didn't want to see him in the first place. I wasn't in a mindset to DEAL with anybody else. Or to TREAT THEM RIGHT. I was having a hard time as it was just slogging through and getting through this terrible day at the end of this terrible week. But as the minutes continued to tick off, I realized I needed things to be right with Mr. U and I. These weird turn of events just made me feel uneasy.
I picked up the phone and called him. "Hi," he answered right away. "Hi," I said. "What are you doing later?" I asked him. He had errands he planned to run and then he was supposed to go to a friend's bbq - someone he hadn't seen in awhile. "Oh." I responded disappointed. "I was hoping we could hang out, but if you're busy, we'll just wait till next week." "No, no, no," he insisted. "What did you have in mind?" "Dinner?" I asked. "Dinner," he agreed. "So listen," I said. "This is what I need. I need for you NOT to ask me how I'm feeling or anything about last night. I just wanna get things back to normal." "Okay, I can do that," he assured me. "See you later then," I said and hung up.
After work I met Mr. U at Mandu. A fantastic Korean restaurant on S and 18th near Dupont. I ordered hot soup which felt very nurturing in a way. I told him I was gonna eat funny and not to make fun of me. He looked at me like that was an insane question. In truth, he never makes fun of me. He never does or says anything that might hurt my feelings. He is always attentive, passionate, complimentary and kind. We made small talk about the weekend. Things still felt a little awkward, but they were slowly getting smoother throughout the meal. "I still feel weird," I said somewhere in the middle. At which point, he stopped me.
"LOOK!" he said firmly. "This week sucked. Shit happens. But nothing has changed. I like you. We are fine."
And that - was all I needed to hear. "Nothing Has Changed." And it really hadn't. I don't know what I was so worried about. "You don't think I'm crazy do you?" I asked him (knowing that I'd been acting a little strange all day). "No." he said. "But even if I did it wouldn't matter, because I already like you too much. I'd just have to deal." Wow. w-o-w. I know I wrote a whole post about how he actually has flaws but I might have to go re-read it myself to remember them. Because at that moment, and right now reliving it, I can't remember what a single bad quality might be. He is everything I need. He is the calm to my storm.
After all, a wise, fellow, female blogger commented on a recent post: "I know the feeling of derailment, but I want to hasten to say - don't let THAT derail you. feelings are just feelings after all. seriously." And she's so right. Feelings are just feelings. Going to the emergency room instead of the movies sucked. The dentist was no fun. Work was busy. He surprised me. And it wasn't the best surprise I've ever had because it wasn't an ideal time. But so what. Life isn't always peaches and candy and butterflies and puppies. Sometimes you feel shitty. Sometimes you wanna be alone. Sometimes your significant other makes you feel sad, angry, annoyed, confused or even weird. But hopefully also happy, joyful, beautiful, sexy, intrigued, goofy, giddy and content. Feelings. are. just. feelings. And the right person - will stick around through them all.
After all of these realizations, I shared the following with Mr. U:
"I like surprises, honest! I like surprises. And flowers. And you. But maybe just not at work. After I've been in the emergency room all night. Or after dental surgery". "Okay," he said. I can handle that. "No, really," I said. "I'm just worried I'm never gonna get surprises or flowers ever again. And I really like them. Surprises that is." "Oh you spoiled girl," he said. "Don't worry. You'll get more surprises. But not at work. After hospitals or dentist's offices. You'll see..."
And I would in fact see - and see just a few days later. Because after all we'd been through the last couple of days - Nothing - had in fact changed.