My boyfriend is possibly the most infuriating person on the planet Earth.
His name is Mitch, and he thinks he's Harry Potter.
He found out that he could do odd things when he was just a toddler, and he's been doing a bunch of dumb shit ever since.
He's got some sort of weird magical ability, which seems like it's a great thing. Really, it's great for him and makes my life just like one long, stressful day.
Something usually goes wrong with him. He tried to give himself super hearing once and ended up with hearing so intense that a whisper from across the house would make him cry. I had to close all the windows for him and stay practically motionless until it wore off, which turned out to be hours and hours later.
Anyway, he makes my life really upsetting a lot of the time.
In fact, if he wasn't the love of my life I'd probably leave.
Want examples? Gladly.
There are days when I get home and Mitch isn't doing anything weird, just hanging out or writing in the house, and we go out and spend the evening together.
It happens plenty.
Of course, it never happens when I'm looking forward to relaxing, so I'm usually not surprised.
Like today, when I come home and find a five year old who looks shockingly like Mitchell sitting on the couch and watching Pokemon.
No surprise, just confusion. Good thing I love kids.
"Hey," I say, kneeling in front of the couch. "What's your name?"
The kid who I'm pretty sure is Mitchell gives me big eyes. "Mitchie. What's yours?"
I laugh. "I'm Cody. You don't know who I am?"
Little Mitch shakes his head. He looks a lot like himself at five - I can see his facial structure developing, his nose a tiny button version of his older self's. His hair isn't the way it usually is - perfectly styled to be unstyled - but it's the same exact shade of brown, and so are his eyes.
"Where's my mommy?" he asks.
I hesitate. I would show him his mother, but she hasn't exactly been the greatest about Mitch doing anything abnormal, which includes both messing with magic and having a gay relationship. They don't talk much.
"Mommy's not here right now," I tell him. "Do you remember how you got here?" I ask.
He shakes his head. "I think maybe I magicked myself." He claps a little hand over his mouth. "I can't tell you about that."
He furrows his brow. "I dunno."
"Okay, Mitchie?" I ask. I sit next to him on the couch and turn off the television. "I'm going to tell you the truth. You might not understand, but I'm going to tell you anyway. You can ask me questions whenever you want, okay?"
He nods, eyes wide.
"You feel like you're, what, five right now?"
He looks at me sternly. "Five and a half."
"Okay. You're think you're five and a half right now, but you're actually a grownup."
"I'm a grownup?"
"Uh-huh. You're actually twenty-seven."
He smiles. "I can count to a hundred."
Well, isn't he full of personality. "You know how you can do magic stuff?"
He nods, looking down. "Mommy says I'm a freak. Do you think I'm a freak?"
Wow. Maybe this is why he's so determined to do the weirdest things he can and try to have fun with it.
"No," I tell him firmly. I pick him up and place him in my lap. "You're not a freak. Your magic makes you special, that's all. It's part of why I love you so much."
He looks up at me. "You love me?"
"Very much. When you're a grownup, you live with me."
"Where's your girlfriend?"
I contemplate explaining homosexuality to him. He'll just go back to his real age in a week, so I might as well corrupt him. "Some boys don't have girlfriends. Some boys have boyfriends."
He shakes his head. "That's not what my mommy says."
"Your mommy's wrong," I tell him, suddenly feeling a little hostile towards the woman for no real reason. Mitch probably had a harder time growing up than I thought. "In the future, I'm your boyfriend and you're my boyfriend."
"But you're old."
I laugh. "You're just as old as me," I say, "but what happened was you made yourself younger. I know you don't remember, but I think you probably thought that you would remember. Do you think you could try to, uh, magic yourself back to twenty-seven?"
He seems afraid. "It's okay if you can't," I encourage him. "It's just that we can't really afford for both of us to miss work this whole week. When you're a grownup, you're a writer, did you know that?"
He frowns. "I wanna be a superhero."
I lie. "Well, you can be a superhero if you can make yourself be a grownup again."
He slides off my lap and sits on the floor, knees folded to his little chest. This is how he does what he does. There's no wand, or cute little motion. He just sits there and concentrates.
I leave him alone for almost an hour while he tries. Sometimes when he's doing something difficult it can take all night, but he doesn't usually last that long. It looks like sitting there lazily to everyone else, but for him it's extremely exhausting.
Eventually I take pity on the little guy. "Hey," I say, shaking his little shoulder.
Oh, I feel bad. His face is pale when he looks up at me. "What?"
"I made chicken nuggets. How many do you want?"
His lower lip trembles. "I can't make myself a grownup. I'm almost six, is that good enough?"
I sigh. The magic will wear off eventually. I'll just have to make excuses for him, like usual.
Sometimes I don't know why he does these things.
Now Mitch, on top of being pale and trembly, is looking like he's going to cry. "It's fine," I say, lifting him up into the air.
"You still love me?"
I roll my eyes. "You are no different at five." He looks confused. "Yes, idiot, I still love you."
"Sorry, never mind."
Mitch can ruin a day at the beach.
We're both pretty good swimmers - actually, I was a lifeguard when I was sixteen and I did okay on the high school swim team. To avoid all the tourists and their children, we swim further out than most into the ocean.
It's freezing, but we're having fun even if we're coming down with hypothermia and our limbs are falling off. We're laughing about something when I notice a random big wave coming. I can see it, but Mitch is turned away from it, towards me. "Mitch!" I yell, "Watch out!"
He turns, but my self-preservation takes over and I dive under the salty water in the direction of the wave. Somehow I get deep enough that it rolls over me.
When it's gone, I kick myself to the top, taking a big breath. The ocean is calm again, of course.
I wait for Mitch to pop his head up as well. He doesn't; in fact, there's no sign of him. The ocean is calm again, of course.
"Mitch!" I shout.
The water is still calm, and I start to panic. "Mitch!" I yell again. Nothing.
Frantically, I pop my head underwater and open my eyes. Of course, I can't see anything, just dark, murky, salty water.
Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck.
I try to blink the saltwater out of my eyes and scour the water for a head, or and arm, or something. "Mitchell! Fuck!"
I don't know what to do, except keep searching. Maybe there's a lifeguard on the beach... but what would they even do?
I swim out a little more toward the shore and wait a little while. Maybe the wave pushed him up to the tourists and he's standing among them.
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
"Help! Someone -"
"Hey, Cody," I hear a familiar voice behind me and I whip myself around in the water.
Mitch is standing there grinning at me like a giant idiot, looking so excited that I'm almost not extremely fucking pissed off.
He tilts his head like he doesn't understand why I look so freaked out. "Guess what?" he asks me.
"What," I return flatly.
He smiles big. "I realized I could make myself breathe underwater."
I glare. "Fucker," I shoot at him. "I hate you."
He smiles and hugs me, but I don't return it.
"I'm serious," I tell him.
He laughs. "Come on, I'm not that stupid. Like I'd actually drown. How pathetic."
I just smack him once on the arm, really hard, and start wading through the water in the opposite direction.
"Cody," he whines after me. I ignore him, but breathe a sigh of relief when he can't see.
Mitch has a deadline for an article that he's neglected to start because he was too busy singing - he managed to give himself an amazing voice, but he still didn't get past round four of the American Idol judges in the tryouts.
He can barely talk anymore, and he's exhausted from keeping the magic up for days, and now he's stressing out about his writing.
"I can't finish this," he whines. "I'm too tired."
"Then go to sleep," I tell him. I'm relaxing on the couch, watching one of those late night talk shows.
"I ca - I - ah," he yawns widely. His eyes are half-closed.
"I told you you were doing the singing too much," I tell him. "You wore yourself out - you should just go to sleep before you pass out."
"I can't, Cody! I'll get fired!"
"Well, I don't know what you want!" I whine. "I can't write it for you or you'll get fired anyway."
"True," he says, yawning again. "Oh! I have an idea. Maybe I could make myself stay awake."
I raise an eyebrow. "I don't have cocaine, if that's what you want."
He rolls his eyes. "No, I'll use magic."
"You think you can? I'm not sure if that's a good idea."
He shrugs. "I need to finish."
"Mitch," I say, worried. "You've already been doing too much magic the past few days, you need a rest, and you're already exhausted. Any magic is a bad idea right now, and you want to make yourself stay up - are you not seeing how this could be really not fun?"
He's ignoring me, sitting there and focusing like he normally does. Whatever.
"Okay," he says, minutes later. "I think I can't fall asleep now."
"How do you feel?"
He looks like he's thinking about it. "Still tired. But I'm pretty sure I won't fall asleep."
I sigh. "It's your funeral. I'm going to bed," I tell him.
"Fine." He yawns, and I walk over and kiss him goodnight before going into the bedroom.
In the morning, he's still sitting in the chair.
"Did you finish?" I ask.
He snaps his eyes open and nods. "Yeah, I finished."
"Why didn't you come to bed?"
He gets up and wobbles over to me. "I can't go to sleep," he whines.
"You did that," I tell him. "Just undo it."
He actually collapses onto me, and I stagger backwards, surprised. "Woah, woah," I say, sitting him down on the couch. "Hey, just undo what you did and go to sleep."
"I'm too tired to do anything," he tells me. "I can't magic, Cody."
I sigh. "That's because you used the last of your magic to make sure you couldn't go to sleep. Remember, I pointed out the flaws in your plan last night."
"Last night?" he asks, closing his eyes.
"Yeah..." I get up to get him a cup of coffee. "Look, it'll wear off, but I think you should probably stay home today."
His eyes open again, and he sits up and looks at me frantically. "No, I need to go in, it's important."
I know I can't convince him to do anything he doesn't want to, so I hand him some coffee. I don't know how much it'll help, because half the reason he's so tired is from his weird magic thing, and I don't know how much coffee helps with that. It's strong?
When I get back from work he's not home yet, which immediately worries me. Initially I hope he's sleeping, but he's not, and he stumbles - literally stumbles - in at eight.
"Mitch!" I say, standing up to help him. He immediately throws his arms around me and starts to sob.
"I can't sleep," he whines between loud cries. "I'm so tired, but I can't sleep. They made me work late, Cody, I'm so sorry."
I guess being tired makes him emotional. I put my hand on his back. "Sorry for what?"
"I never listen to you, and I do, I do w-weird things, and you put up with me, and I never listen, and I'm sorry."
"It's okay. Hey - it's okay, Mitch, stop crying."
"I can't, I'm too tired." He keeps crying into my shoulder.
I lay him on the bed and go onto the computer, looking up how long a person can go without sleep on Google.
Huh. Apparently it varies, but he'll start to hallucinate and be irritable and forget things. Fun. He won't get his energy up enough to reverse what he did, but maybe it'll reverse itself before it kills him. I better hope it does.
"Just relax," I tell him, propping him up on the bed with some pillows. His eyes keep fluttering open and closed, and it's starting to freak me out.
"It's like... every time I get close, I get j... jerked..."
His muscles spasm.
I touch his face. "Is there anything I can do?"
I'm sympathetic sometimes, even though he's a giant idiot who thinks he's Harry Potter.
He lifts an arm weakly, and I put my hand in his. "You can... you can... you..."
"Mitch?" Maybe he's going to sleep.
His eyes open again, and he looks at me. "What?"
This is bad. He looks so pale and fragile right now, how long can this go on for? The internet knows nothing. "How long can you survive this?" I have to wonder out loud.
"I'd have to..." his eyes close for a minute, then open again. "Have to... fall sleep, to die."
He squeezes my hand a little, but I try to get up. "I'll stop bothering you," I say. I actually have to get some work done. "Maybe you'll go to sleep."
"No," he whines. "You're... stay..."
So I stay and get absolutely nothing done all night. I just watch TV and try to have conversations with him, which end up being completely one sided because he can't keep up a train of thought for more than about thirty seconds. I make a few recordings of him saying ridiculous things, just to make fun of him after he's rested.
And, in true Mitch fashion, he's barely holding on, crying and hallucinating, when he finally passes out on day three. I settle him on the bed and just hope he wakes up.
So I spend the first half of the week nursing him because he's so tired and trying to get him to go to sleep, and the second half praying that he'll eventually wake up.
Do I get any sleep?
It's Friday night and I'm just getting back from work, exhausted. I'm just getting over this terrible cold and am really looking forward to collapsing on our bed and just sleeping for a year.
I unlock the door to the apartment, barely able to hold my stuff. "Mitch," I call, excited that my voice isn't even scratchy anymore. "I'm home."
There's no answer, which puzzles me. Usually he's home by now, and I'm back from work late.
I sigh, hoping he hasn't done something ridiculous lately. I am not in the mood for ridiculous. Maybe I'm lucky and he's just taking a bath in the back or something.
My limbs decide they don't really want to hold me up anymore, so I fall onto the couch and switch the TV on. Desperate Housewives is on, which is fine with me.
I jump and turn to the side to see a fucking cat on the couch, sitting there and staring at me.
Cats are the devil. Why is there a cat in the apartment?
"Stay away!" I warn, but it's probably too late. There's probably cat hair on the couch.
The fucking cat doesn't listen, striding across the cushion and nuzzling my arm with its nose. It actually licks me.
I shove it away.
Ugh. Shouldn't have touched it.
"Mitch!" I yell desperately. My nose is already itching. "Wh - wh- why? Hatchsh! Is there a cat in the house?"
I sniffle, getting up and attempting to distance myself from the creature. All I wanted to do was sleep, and now my eyes are watering and my nose is itching and I feel like I can't breathe.
Mitch isn't even home, which is upsetting because the urge to yell at him is getting harder to control.
The cat follows me, nuzzling up against my leg as I try to get to the phone to call my fucking obnoxious boyfriend. I sneeze.
I dial Mitch's number and hear it ringing in the bedroom. The cat keeps fucking following me as I go to retrieve it from the bedside table.
There's a note under it.
If you're reading this, I probably turned myself into a cat.
Ha. Ha ha.
"Ugh," I groan, and turn to look at the cat. "You're my boyfriend?" I already sound congested. "Great. You do know I'm allergic to cats, right?"
I sit down on the bed and the cat - Mitchell - hops up and sits next to me. I pet his dark fur - my boyfriend's fur. Mitchell blinks up at me with big kitty eyes.
"I think you need to sleep outside," I tell him. He just looks up at me with brown eyes that are way too much like his human ones, pleading with me. "I need to sleep," I whine, but I can already feel a sneezing fit coming on and I fucking hate Mitchell.
Appropriately, he stays away while I try to get words out between my sneezes. I think I manage to convey that when he is a person again he is detoxing the apartment of any and all cat hair.
In exchange for letting him stay inside.
I sigh. It would be hard to explain to my friends that my boyfriend died getting into a fight with a dog or something.
"You, you, you're - Hatchsh! Heh-hestchsh! Sleeping - Ha-CHOO! On the floor."
I sniff, going into the bathroom to find some sort of medication. When I get back, Mitch is waiting for me on the bed. "You're stugk as a - hih, hih, hatchoo! - cad, ared't you?"
The cat that I somehow am in love with nods.
"I hate you," I manage to say, sniffling miserably.
My new pet licks me again, gives me big eyes, and nuzzles its nose against my leg so I just have to pet it between its ears. "Meow." In my head, I can hear Mitch saying, Yeah, I love you too.
I sneeze but pet Mitchell again. He closes his kitty eyes. I guess cats aren't the devil except for the fucking sneezing.
How did I end up in this life? I am allergic to my boyfriend, who is at the moment not a human, and I don't know how long it will last. He's so unpredictable.
I pet him again. "Okay, get out of my room, before I combusd."
The cat sends me a look that is almost apologetic as I collapse into another sneezing fit. Then he's gone and I try to calm my allergies down so I can get to fucking sleep.
This is my life.
I think the time that I worry most is when he attempts to time travel.
Worry. Okay. I sort of have a, what's it called, psychotic break?
It's all Mitchell's fault.
I tell him before he does it that it's dumb. He doesn't listen.
I just watch him as he sits on the kitchen counter, trying to time travel. "This is dumb," I say, every few seconds. "You're going to hurt yourself. Seriously, Mitch. This is so stupid."
He ignores me. Of course.
All of a sudden, he collapses, right off the counter and into my arms. I fall to the floor. "Mitch?" I shake him. "Mitch, what happened?"
He doesn't answer, so I drag his unresponding body into adjoining room and lay him out on the floor. I slap his cheeks. "Mitch. Hey, Mitch. Ugh. I knew this would happen," I grumble, attempting to get him onto the couch.
He lays there while I attempt to do other things but really only worry about him for another two hours. Then, his eyes snap open and I'm there in a second.
He sits up like nothing happened and tilts his head. "Where am I?"
I raise my eyebrows. "Uh... in the apartment...?"
He shakes his head a little, as if to clear it. "In your apartment?"
"In our apartment."
He laughs. "I like you, but I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself. We're on a first date - no, I won't move in."
"Did you hit your head?" I'm not understanding the words that are coming out of his mouth.
He touches his hair. "I don't think so - but I must have passed out or something. How did I get here?"
"You never left," I say, already getting the feeling that whatever this is, this is bad. "You were trying to time travel, but then you passed out. You don't remember?"
He gives me a look, then laughs weakly. "I wasn't trying to time travel. Why would I be trying to time travel?"
I shrug, annoyed. "Fuck if I know. You seem to think a bunch of things that are bad ideas are good ideas. I knew something bad was going to happen, but no..."
He holds a hand up. "I don't know what you're talking about. Actually, I have a feeling I am completely not understanding what's going on right now."
I kneel in front of the couch. "Okay," I say slowly. "Tell me what you think just happened."
"Um, so I was at dinner with you... we met in the library at school, and you asked me out... I don't know, the last thing I remember is I was just looking at you across the table and smiling. We were talking about... something, I don't know. What were we talking about?"
I shrug. This event took place almost three years ago.
He looks hurt. "Great. I guess you weren't listening."
"No, no, no," I tell him. "I just have a crappy memory, I guess, and so do you. Why do I always have to explain things to you?" I make a very frustrated noise.
It's better to be frustrated than to think about whether or not he actually will remember anything past our first date or if he finally did some irreparable damage to his brain.
"What do you mean, always?" he asks, sounding frustrated as well. "This is like the third conversation I've ever had with you."
I close my eyes, wishing I had something to smack my head against. "You. Are. So. Dumb."
When I open my eyes again his arms are crossed, glaring at me. "If I knew what was going on right now I would leave just because you said that."
"Don't leave," I sigh. I'm big on sighing.
"I just said I would if I knew what was going on, which I obviously don't. And you call me dumb. When I learn what you're talking about, we are not going on a second date."
I mutter, I wish we hadn't.
"Excuse me?" Mitch is offended again.
"Fine," I sigh. "You know what? It's fucking 2010 right now, and yeah, oh my gosh, you're shocked. Because somehow when you time-traveled you managed to time travel only your fucking brain and leave me stuck to explain the last like, three years to you. And I shouldn't even be mad at you because you don't even really know me, I guess, but," I growl.
"No. I freaking put up with a lot from you, you know that? I waitfor your sorry ass, I fucking babysat you for a week when you were five years old and for some reason decided to run around with my jacket pretending to be superman. You know what? When you get your fucking memory back, or you time travel from wherever the fuck your head is, I don't even want to think about it, you are sleeping on the couch. Maybe you'll retain that when whatever this is wears off."
I stomp into the bedroom, leaving a very confused 2007 Mitch behind. Then I sigh and walk back in.
"You're probably really confused right now," I say, trying to be sympathetic but really just raving. "It's not your fau - you know what, it is your fault. You don't know it, but you do dumb shit. And I deal with your dumb shit. If you're going to be stuck like this, you should know that."
He opens his mouth.
"One more thing," I add. "No, a few more things. You have nowhere else to sleep, so if you think I'm a nutjob, because I am a nutjob, because you make me a nutjob, you can sleep in a fucking homeless shelter. I don't know why you wouldn't believe me, because you're already, what, twenty-four, twenty-five? You've probably already done some stupid shit, stupid enough that you end up really really confused. And you know what? That first date went pretty fucking well, if I do say so myself, so it can't be too hard to believe that we end up living together."
"Well, at least you know my name!" I shout. "That's a step up from the five year old. You know, I should just lock you in a room until you're yourself again so I don't have to do all this nonsense explaining. But I wouldn't, because you'd freak out and I'd just feel bad."
"You're not really making any sense."
"Well screw you!" I yell at him. "I'm confused! You think you're the only one who's confused? I don't know what you did to yourself! You don't come with a fucking handbook, so I have to just sit here and hope that whatever you did to yourself goes away!"
"I didn't do anything," he reminds me.
"Great. Fucking great. You know what, Mr. Fucking Amnesia or Whatever the Fuck Mitchell, I don't want to listen to you. You better fucking let me rant at you, because you owe me. I fed you when you were a cat, I fucking flew to Japan because you were a wreck, I - you know what? There's too many to list."
"Sorry," This version of my boyfriend says.
"Yeah. You should be sorry. And I need mental help, obviously. How does it feel, to know that you're in love with a mental patient three years from now? Huh? Is that comforting?"
He makes a very Mitch face. "Not really, no."
"Good. Because I spent three yearswith not comforting. I sit here, and I worry, and I hope to God that soon you go back to normal and I don't actually have to do any real explaining because my Mitch will be back. But of course, there's never really any way to know, is there? So I'll just sit here and yell at you because otherwise I'll just start fucking crying, but you know what? The second I start to cry the twenty-seven year old Mitchell will be back and he'll be all like, 'why are you crying, Cody? Did you actually think I'd be stuck like that forever? You're an idiot.' I'll feel dumb, too. I don't know why. I'll feel stupid for even worrying about you, because really I shouldn't."
Mitchell shrugs a shoulder. "You probably should at least a little."
I roll my eyes. "No shit. You're an ass, you know that? And God, I better hope you don't remember this because I haven't had a meltdown like this in forever. If you for some freakish reason do remember it, then you'll want to talk, which is pointless because you'll never stop doing dumb things. THEY'RE DUMB, MITCH, STOP DOING DUMB THINGS."
"Yeah," I say. "Cower. Yeah. Run away from the crazy future life partner. Maybe I am crazy. Maybe one day I'll get so sick of being like, you know what I am? I'm like the fucking Time Traveler's Wife. I am not a wife, but I'm always fucking waiting for you. And some day you're going to end up someplace that you can't get yourself out of because you did something dumb, and I'm going to be waiting and you won't come back, and then I will be crazy and you won't come back and laugh at me. Huh? Do you ever think of that? Of course not, it's all in good fun. Maybe I'll just disappear for a few days and see how youlike it."
He frowns. "That's mean."
"That's the point," I snarl. "Your commentary is stupid. Stop commentating. Maybe I will disappear. I'll go fly to fucking Japan without telling you and show up a week later, all like, LOL, JK! It's such a funny story how I ended up here! Yeah. You'd hate me. You'd be fucking glad I was okay, but you'd hate me. And then you'd know how it feels."
Mitch clamps his mouth shut like he wants to say something.
"But I won't. You know why I won't? Because I'd be too fucking afraid you'd do something dumb to yourself trying to find me that I wouldn't even take the chance. You would. You would take the lesson I'm trying to teach and just fuck it up by doing something dumb that makes me worry about you."
Mitch makes a face. "That does sound like me."
He never was good at not commentating. "I hate you," I tell him. "You know why I hate you?"
"Because you love me?"
"That's exactly it. It's because I love you. Loving you has got to be like the most tiring thing in the entire world. I am so close to an entire breakdown right now. I am going to physically just collapse. This would be great, you know? If this really is just the last dumb thing you're going to do and this you is who I'm stuck with forever. No offense. You've lost like three years of memory. If this is who I live with forever, then that's three years that you'll never get back. I'll never get them back either, because what's the point of memories if the person you share them with doesn't have them? Yeah, if you're who I'm stuck with, this will forever be your impression of me. Cody, the lunatic. Cody, who's so fucking in love that he's just a fucking lunatic."
Mitchell shrugs. "I think it's sort of sweet."
"You would. You would think it's sweet. You know what? I don't think it's sweet at all. I think it's fucking sour. If you could feel the way my stomach is right now, you wouldn't say that it's sweet. You'd say it was sour and it hurt. That's how pathetic I am, you know? This breakdown has got to be significant of something - maybe some part of me just knows that your twenty-seven year old self won't come back, and that's why this is happening."
"That's dumb. Come on, Cody, that's dumb."
"You're doing it already!" I shout, pointing. "You're making me feel stupid already! I hate you. You know what, I hate you. But I'm just so fucking pathetic that I would fucking accept it if you never came back. I'd just take you like this, like we're in fucking The Notebook and I'd write a big fucking book of everything we've done together. You'd read it and be like, wow, I've been a shit to my boyfriend these past few years. He must worry about me a lot."
"I'm sorry," he apologizes, pretty sincerely.
"Yeah," I say. "You apologize, but then you do something dumb the next week, because that's who you are. And somehow I'll end up explaining our relationship to you. Again. That's like my second job. If we weren't practically married I'd make you pay me to do it. I hate you."
He nods. "Yeah, I get it."
"You," I point, finding myself flushed and breathing heavily. "Do not get it. Okay. Here's what's going to happen, okay? No arguing. I am going to go pour myself some whiskey, and you can't have some, because I am a mental patient tonight and I think it's either alcohol or a mental hospital. Then I am going to go into our - actually, tonight it's my - bedroom, and I am going to go to sleep. You are going to sleep on the couch. When I wake up in the morning, if you're still twenty-three -"
"Then you're not going to talk to me. When - if - your brain goes back to normal, I'll probably be in there worrying out of my mind that it won't. Okay?"
Good boy. Just agree and let the crazy person leave.
I cry into my pillow after my whiskey, just because I'm so embarrassed. I'm pretty sure Mitch won't remember it, but I guess it's impossible to know because he didhave a vague recollection of his time as a five-year-old.
Hours later, too early in the morning, I hear someone come into the room. They lay down in front of me and I squeeze my eyes shut tighter.
"It's me," Mitch says. An arm wraps awkwardly around my middle and lips are pressed to my cheek. "I'm back, I'm fine."
"Of course you are," I say.
"You've been crying," he notices. "And... drinking? Cody?"
I turn away from him, roll onto my other side. This makes his arm lose contact with me, which I regret immediately, so I reach my hand back to grab his and bring it around me. "I hate you," I mumble, kissing our intertwined fingers over and over. "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you."
"I wasn't even gone a day," he wonders out loud. "Cody," he presses kisses to my hair and the back of my neck. "Did something happen?"
"No, nothing," I say, and I am notabout to start crying in front of the proper mental age Mitch. "Just the usual. Loving you."
He sighs but says nothing.
"Tell me about your time travel," I finally say, tangling our legs.
"Well," he starts, whispering into my neck. "It didn't really work out that great, I tried to go to our first date..."
I fall asleep again to the soothing sound of his voice.
Mitch has been gone for a day.
It's not unusual for him to be gone for a day, so whenever he is I pretend not to worry, because he always comes back and he always makes fun of me when I do.
But people say that people always come back, and the day they say that is the day they don't come back.
With Mitch, I never know. For all I know, he could have tried flying one day from the top of a building and crashed at the bottom. Ugh. I wince.
Okay, even he's not that stupid. But still. He does some dumb shit. One can't help but worry.
Just don't tell him.
Whenever he's gone, I leave late and come home early, just in case. Not like it helps. Usually I end up picking him up in some random place because he's been doing too much of his magic and he's completely wiped out. He acts like he really misses me, and as a result I allow him a few kisses. Only a few, because obviously I'm pissed and not worried at all.
We agreed, a while back, that after three days I'm allowed to properly worry, and when it gets to four I need to call the police and go looking for him anywhere I think he might be. After a week I'm allowed to cry and anytime past that full freak out mode is pretty much required because he'll want to be found.
Of course, in reality I worry after one day. I keep the police rule at four, but I've learned not to cry. It actually has been past a week. He tried to do something ridiculous like, I don't even remember, teleport himself somewhere, I think. He got there, but he was passed out for a week in some hospital in Japan while I was going out of my mind. Anyway, I learned that crying doesn't actually help anyone find him, so it's pointless.
He's always fine.
Probably because I confiscated all of his Harry Potter books. Apparating. My God. We're just lucky he didn't, what's the word? Splinch?
I'm sitting with these worrisome thoughts on our bed, watching television, when I feel something touch me. I whip my head in both directions, but don't see anything.
It must have been a bug, so I turn back to the television.
There it is again. Like I am being deliberately poked.
Something touches me a third time, and I freak out so much that I actually topple off the bed, banging my head so hard on the nightstand that my vision blurs when I'm on the floor.
"Oww," I whine. "What the fuck..."
Maybe I was just imagining it.
Holy shit. Something is touching me again and either I hit my head too hard or whatever is touching me is invisible. It feels like a hand, and it's petting my hair where I just hit my head.
"What the hell!" I yell. "Get off me! Help, someone!"
That's when I feel pressure on both sides of my hips. Like someone is... straddling me. Invisible lips press against mine, and all of a sudden I realize what's happening. The taste of the lips is pretty familiar.
"Fuck, Mitch!" I yell. "You scared me!"
No laugh, nothing.
I sigh. "Let me just take a wild guess. You sat there trying to make yourself invisible, but now nobody can hear you either? Jesus, why do I even put up with you? Oh, I could maybe write a note and leave it for my boyfriend to find like a courteous person, or, you know, I could invisibly sit next to him and poke him. One of these days I'm going to have a heart attack and it's going to be your fault, and then who're you going to poke when you're invisible, huh?"
My ranting is done, so I allow Mitch to get me some ice (a floating icepack is the least of my worries) and sit with me on the bed. I keep one of my hands in his at all times just so I don't lose him.
Sometimes I wish I could just keep holding his hand, and he'd never leave me.
I don't really remember how I got here.
I'm laying off the street, somewhere dark. Everything's a bit fuzzy, and I think I'm hurt because I can't move.
They shot me. I was walking home from work way too late, and some guys mugged me, and then they shot me.
I press my hand to my stomach, and it comes back wet.
I think I'm laying in a puddle of my own blood.
They took my cell phone.
I was almost home.
Mitch will be home soon, and I'll be dead.
I groan, twisting on the ground.
Someone, help me. Anyone.
I'm struggling to hang on to my consciousness when I hear a familiar car. It stops, so I must be even closer to home than I thought.
I want to shout, Mitch, help me!
It's impossible, though. I only let out another groan.
It hurts so bad.
Somehow I manage this disgusting sounding gargled yell. I think there's blood in my mouth.
I'm going to die.
"Oh my god," someone shouts.
Mitch, I think. I let myself drift a bit, trying to let go of the pain. It'll be okay.
"Someone's hurt!" he shouts. "Someone call 911!"
He gets closer. His voice gets closer. "No... Cody? No. Cody!"
Just get me to a hospital, I think.
"Oh, god. Cody? Oh god oh god oh god."
A shaking hand presses into the side of my neck. I choke, and Mitch starts to cry.
I think he's sitting beside me. "It's okay," he says, gasping in breaths. I feel his hand on my face, but I focus on getting air into my lungs. It's getting more difficult, and I make sounds like a dying animal. I am a dying animal.
"It's okay. Oh my god, fuck, it's okay. You're going to be okay." He keeps taking quick, huge breaths.
Isn't he going to take me to a hospital. Is he going to watch me die?
It's getting hard for me to keep focused. "I love you," I try to say, but it doesn't work. The words don't come out, and I choke some more.
Mitch is quiet, next to me. I concentrate on his breathing. Slow, deep, shaky.
I try to breathe with him.
Maybe he knows it's too late to get me help. He's just staying with me, keeping me calm.
All of a sudden, I can breathe with him. I take big, deep breaths, and I'm not choking. "I love you," I can actually say this time, and I guess I'm glad to get it out before I die. For some reason I feel like I had to.
The pain is going away too.
I must be going, but I still feel my partner's hand in mine. He's not saying anything, I don't even hear him moving.
I just listen and wait. I can breathe, and the pain is gone. Maybe I'm delusional. I swallow blood, and open my eyes.
Is this what it's like to die? You watch people cry next to you?
Mitch is just sitting there, head pressed into his knees. His hand isn't in mine anymore. They're both wrapped around his legs so hard I think they're going to break. He's shaking.
Feeling strangely... normal, I press my hand to my stomach. Mitch must have pushed my shirt up, or ripped it off, because I can see the place where they shot me. There's blood around it, but the bullet is laying on top and there's no sign of an actual wound.
I look back at Mitch, pushing myself up onto my elbows.
I don't know what's going on, but I don't think I'm dead. Actually, I feel okay. Dizzy and tired, but okay.
His head snaps up and he surveys me, checks my stomach like I did. Then he takes a huge breath, brings his hands to his face, and starts to cry, shaking hard. "Oh my god," he sobs. "Oh my god."
I grab his arm and manage to sit up. Pressing a disbelieving hand to my abdomen, I ask, "Did you just... fix me?"
He tries to breathe. "I had to... do something. Oh god, Cody." He starts to cry again.
"Calm down," I tell him, though I'm not calm. Talk about a near death experience. I grab his hand.
"Are you... how do you feel? You need..." he blinks rapidly, screwing up his mouth. "Oh god, you lost blood. Let's go..."
I hear ambulance sirens approaching. He smiles in relief, but it doesn't really work because his face is covered in tears and snot.
"You saved my life," I say, finally registering it.
I try to stand, grabbing at Mitchell for support. "How did you even do that? I didn't know you could do that. And you seem... fine. Physically."
He shakes his head. "Don't know, don't care. Oh god, Cody. Are you sure you feel okay? Did I even ask? How do you feel?"
I think about it. "I feel okay," I decide. "I was pretty sure I was dying, so I feel really good compared to that."
"You weredying," he says, and starts crying yet again just as the ambulance pulls up. "You were... Over here!" he shouts frantically.
At the hospital, they're confused, but they give me blood and I rest for a bit. I go back home a few hours later feeling absolutely fine. A bit traumatized, maybe.
Mitch saved my life.
"So," I say on the car ride back, "Nothing bad happened? Usually when you do something big, something bad happens."
He shakes his head, glancing at me nervously. "You feel okay?"
I sigh. "Yes, I feel fine. You were amazing - how'd you even concentrate enough to do that? Wow. You know what, I love magic. Whatever I've ever said, I take it back."
He laughs. "Sure."
"Seriously, though." I reach across the car to find his hand. "You were amazing. I'm so lucky I have you."
He laughs again, but a few more tears trail down his cheeks. "You better remember you said that," he jokes.
"I think I will."
"What are you doing now?" I ask when I come home to Mitch sitting on our bed, focused.
He smiles but doesn't answer. "Fine," I say, and go to the kitchen to fix a cocktail for myself.
He comes out a few minutes later, grinning widely. I'm suspicious.
"What did you do?"
He walks up to me and wraps his arms around my neck. "Take off my pants and find out," he says.
"Is it... is it bigger?" I ask.
He grins some more and nods.
"Should we... give it a test run?" I ask, unable to refrain from laughing.
He pulls me into the bedroom.
An hour later, he's tugging at me. I'm sweaty and exhausted, but he's even worse. "Again?" I ask, incredulous.
He glances downwards, laughs. "It won't go down."
I press my lips together, trying not to laugh.
Then he senses the gravity of the situation. "Oh shit. It won't go down."
"Nice work, there," I say, patting him on the shoulder and rolling out of bed. I walk into the bathroom and call behind me, "You coming?"
"It won't go down!" he wails.
"Might as well come into the shower," I return.
"This is not funny," he says, standing there all erect as I burst into hysterics.
"You're going to have to go out in public," I say while laughing and turning on the water.
"Shut up," he whines.
"And it's especially noticeable because you're - ha - bigger now. Oh my god, this is hilarious."
"Shut up, shut up, shut up!"
So our biggest fight was probably my fault.
I can't help it, I freaked.
We're at home on a Saturday night, and, like often, I'm exhausted. It's not my fault, it's him who's exhausting. He's not the one who spends all of his time dealing with his ridiculous magical escapades.
When he's himself, sometimes I like to just relax with him.
"C'mon, Cody, let's go dancing."
"No. I don't want to." It's so nice in our apartment, small as it may be. I have my computer and my television and my bed and my boyfriend.
"Please, Codyyy," he whines. "I just finished my article, I want to go somewhere."
"Then go somewhere," I tell him. "I'll stay here."
He blows air up into his bangs, frustrated. "I don't want to go out without you," he explains, annoyed.
"Cody, come dancing with me."
There's... something about the way he says it that makes me really want to go dancing with him.
I will go dancing with Cody.
"Okay," I say, feeling odd. I get up and head for the closet, wondering what to wear. "Where are we going?" I ask.
"I was thinking we could... oh, I can't..."
He frowns, and then all of a sudden I realize again that I absolutely do not want to leave the house.
"What did you just do to me?" I snap the question at him.
He looks guilty. "Well... I just..."
He just somehow made me want to do what he said. Mind control?
"Did you just try to change my thoughts?"
"I just, I really wanted..." He grimaces. "Yeah, that was probably a bad idea. I just... I figured out that if I tried really hard I could do it, and I wanted to try..."
"Probably a bad idea?" I'm close to yelling at him, my mouth wide open. I'm stunned that he would do something like this. He's always been an advocate of using his magic for innocent things, not stealing or getting an unfair advantage.
Now he's trying to control my mind.
"Probably a bad idea? I can't believe you just... are you going to make me start doing things for you now? Cody, get me a water. Cody, do my work for me. Cody, let's have sex?"
"No," he says. "No, no, no..."
"What about everyone else? Are you going to mind control them?"
"No!" he yells, his eyes watering. "Cody, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have..."
"You shouldn't have?" For some reason, I'm scared. If Mitch can control my mind, what else can he do? Can he manipulate my feelings, like Jasper in Twilight? Could he end this fight if he wanted to? Read my mind?
"More like you shouldn't be able to," I finish. I hold up a hand. "Sorry, I can't, I need to go."
"What?" He grabs my arm as I head for the door. "Cody, wait, I was stupid -"
I'm too freaked out and angry to feel bad. "I thought I could handle anything when it comes to you, but I'm just... having some trouble with this, okay? Just let me go."
He does, and I sleep at my friend Matilda's house that night.
Of course, I wake up the next day feeling crappy. I've never been one for real fighting - Mitch and I rarely have actual fights, just me being really annoyed pretty often and him soothing me with that smile of his.
I come back that night after work, dreading the confrontation. We need to work this out.
He's sitting at the desk with his computer, so he probably worked from home today. He looks up when I close the door, and I wince. He's been crying.
He's obviously relieved that I've come back. "Cody!"
"Hey," I say. I smile weakly.
"Listen," he says. "I've been thinking."
I resist telling him that that's never good and sit down down on our living room chair. He swivels his desk chair to face me. "I'm sorry," he says. "You were right, I shouldn't... I shouldn't be able to do that to you. It's unnatural."
Leave it to Mitch to retain the one thing I regret saying. "I didn't -"
"You did, but it's okay. You're right. And... I thought about it, and you're what's most important to me."
I'm confused. "What do you mean?"
He looks pained, biting his lip. "I'll... I've decided to give it up. Everything. You won't have to worry about me doing... whatever, to you. Magic. I'll stop."
"I know you hate dealing with me all the time, and worrying about me, and I understand, and it was just the last straw. I should have realized it earlier, I can't just keep living the way I want to and ignoring what you want. I can't have everything, so I'll give it up. I love you, and I can't lose you. I swear I won't scare you ever again."
I find myself tearing up. "Stop. Mitch."
"I'm sorry. You don't have to choose, I'm sorry that I made you feel like you have to choose. I don't wantyou to give up your magic."
"You don't?" he looks almost hopeful.
"No, of course not. I mean, I don't exactly enjoy worrying about you all the time, but that's who you are. You wouldn't be yourself without your magic. You'd probably explode from boredom."
"It just freaked me out - you don't usually do things to me. Usually you do things to yourself."
He scrunches his face up, probably trying not to smile. I think he was expecting this conversation to go a lot worse.
"Yeah, usually I can't do things to other people - not that I would, if I could. I don't even know how I can apologize for last night - it was so stupid. I shouldn't be using that at all, especially with you. I want you to do things because you want to do them."
I nod. No argument here. "Let's make a deal," I say. "I'll forgive you - do whatever you want to yourself, just promise not to ever mess with my head again."
"I promise," he says, quickly and eagerly. "I won't do anything to you at all, unless you want me to. I promise I promise I promise."
I laugh. "Okay. C'mere."
He comes over to the couch, and we hug and laugh. "Oh," I say, remembering something. "I don't want to hear any more of that 'unnatural' nonsense, okay?"
He chuckles. "Yeah, I don't really buy it either."
He kisses me, and we proceed to have incredible make-up sex.
If I had a catch phrase, it would be, "What are you doing?"
We're sitting on a blanket in the park on the Fourth of July, waiting for the fireworks. They should be coming on any minute now. They better, because it's freezing outside and we only have a thin blanket.
"M-mitch," I shiver. I grab his arm and pull him closer, trying to break his concentration. "At least wait until we're home, I want to watch the fireworks with you."
He looks at me and rolls his eyes. "I'm not that big an asshole," he says. "I wouldn't go anywhere right before they're about to start."
I try to wrap the blanket tighter around myself. Mitch just goes back to sitting there with that look on his face. The look that means we're usually in for something interesting and likely aggravating.
"Okay," he says a minute later.
I try to glare at him, but it doesn't work because my teeth are chattering. "What did you do?" I ask.
"They're starting," he says, smiling, and pulls me to him.
I sigh, relaxed. "You're so warm."
He laughs, putting the blanket around both of us. "See? It can be useful sometimes."
Under the blanket, the heat that he somehow produces radiates around both of us, warming even my feet. I put my arm around him, and the fireworks start, big, single green and purple and red ones that just make me smile.
"I love you," I tell him, gazing up at the sky.
He laughs. "You're only saying that because I'm warm right now."
"True," I laugh back, and turn his head so I can kiss him.
He sighs a big, dramatic sigh. "And even though you're just using me for my heat, I love you too."
I smile, and we both turn back to the fireworks, happily watching as they explode in the sky.
This is really long... sorry.
If you made it to the end, review?