There was a man in my house. It was the first time in my life I'd lived with a boyfriend. It wasn't so bad actually. I really liked this particular man. He toured the country a lot for work, so I didn't always have him home. But we dealt with it just fine, surprisingly. And when he was home again, the change was noticeable. The apartment became messier, beer cans suddenly appeared where they weren't before, used socks showed up in random places. Not to mention, the sheets were often warmer and wrinkled from excessive use.
At the moment, the fact that there was a man in my house was blindingly obvious. I was looking directly at the result of it. The toilet seat was up.
I went into the bathroom that morning with a cup of coffee. My dark brown hair was messy from a night of rough pillow friction. My glasses were askew since my boyfriend rolled over onto them and I had to tape the arm back on with duct tape. I was wearing nothing but shorts and a tank top.
It was amazing how much you could learn about a person when you cohabitated with them. It used to be that my apartment was all mine. I picked out the curtains myself. The dishes were hot pink and used, but they were mine. I could leave my underwear on the floor and my roommate, Ultra Pepe, never complained. He didn't make noises and he never left the toilet seat up. But he was also a goldfish. The point is that things were different now that my boyfriend and I were living together.
Our relationship had a sort of rocky/weird start. He'd moved into the apartment next to mine. We met over a cup of Theraflu and decided to hang out and watch Lord of the Rings. We started doing this regularly. Not really friends exactly. But something close to that. We were just two people with similar interests who decided to hang out on occasion and eat take out and watch movies.
And then one day we had a conversation about open relationships or something and he made the mistake of telling me he thought I was cute. Well, sorta. And I was desperately lonely. And then at some point after that, we sort of ripped each other's close off. And the rest is history, so to speak.
It's kind of funny looking back now. We made a lot of stupid rules to try and keep it from getting personal. We just stuck to sex and hanging out. He had a girlfriend and I had a someone. We were comfortable with this arrangement. And then, of course, we completely broke every single rule. We fell in love. Hard. And somewhere along the line, we realized we didn't want anyone else. No boyfriends or girlfriends or open relationships. Just the two of us.
And after six months of the healthiest, happiest relationship I'd ever had, he asked me to get a place with him. I was cool with it because the double income was going to help with bills considerably. But also I was just madly in love.
We'd been living together for about six months now. Officially together for over a year. And we'd known each other for—well—a long time. I lost count. We pretty much concluded that we were soulmates, but the idea of marriage was still something that neither of us ever talked about. And it only ever came up when his mom asked us to stop living in sin and then we'd avoid eye contact and bolt. I guess it was a conversation we just weren't ready for yet.
I sipped my coffee as I looked at the toilet. I suppose I couldn't be mad about it. Guys forgot things like that all the time. I grew up with two brothers and learned to look before sitting down. I rarely fell in. But for some reason—it was irking me.
I decided to ignore it. I was already late for work and I didn't have time for an argument. This was Chris's fault too, though. Normally I had a difficult time getting to sleep. But when he was home, he cured this problem with great sex. I always slept like a baby after sex. Then in the morning, I'd hear my alarm, say "fuck it" and go back to sleep. And the night before had been—well it had been incredible. So in the morning, I'd completely slept through my alarm.
I hurried up and then raced out of the bathroom and for the bedroom. I was still in my birthday suit after my shower, aside from my glasses. I couldn't see very well without them. I did own contacts but I only ever used them on special occasions. Chris was still passed out cold on the bed. His face was smushed up against the pillow. His mouth was open. His sandy hair was messy from where I'd run my fingers through it.
When people first met us, they didn't think we had very much in common. Chris was tall, freakishly so, and I was short. Also freakishly so. He had tattoos. I had none. He was kind of a jock and dressed like one. And I dressed like a big giant nerd.
But we weren't really opposites at all. Once people got to know us, they'd find out that Chris had loved comic books since he was ten and would nerd out over Luke Skywalker for hours if you let him ramble enough. We had an almost identical sense of humor. And Chris just happened to love Star Wars as much as he loved sports. Also, we had great sex. But the most important thing is that we loved each other.
"I'm late. I'm late!" I said, throwing my clothes around as I searched for something to wear.
I wasn't the best housekeeper. My laundry only ever got done when I ran out of clothes to wear. And I refused to ever do Chris's. So it would pile up since he did his about as often as I did mine. I had a thing about touching other people's underwear. It grossed me out. I've touched what was under the underwear plenty of times. But there was something about underwear that felt sacred and wrong.
Chris finally woke up when one of my shirts landed on his head. He sat up slowly and looked at me with sleepy baby blue eyes as I shuffled around the room in nothing but a broken pair of glasses.
"You should just stay home today," he suggested, rubbing his eyes. "Take a sick day."
"I can't take a sick day. I took a sick day last week. This is all your fault." He grinned lazily. I finally located a pair of clean underwear and yanked them on. His smile fell.
"Damn," he said. I flipped him off. Unfortunately, he viewed that as an invitation and reached out, wrapping his arms around my waist, and pulled me back into bed. I shrieked.
"Chris! I can't! I'm late!" He rolled me onto my back and buried his face in my neck. His fingers pinched my ribs, his lips kissed my neck. And I was squiggling and giggling. I tried to push him away so I could finish getting ready, but I wasn't hating it.
"C'mon. Stay with me. I'll do the thing you like if you stay home."
"You'll do that later. You owe me one. After I almost drowned in the shower last night." He laughed against my neck.
"Yeah, but it was fun."
Of course, it was. For him.
I pushed him off and he flopped over onto the bed in defeat. I pulled on some dirty jeans, a clean bra, and my favorite shirt that he bought for me from some trashy restaurant he'd found in New Jersey. It said, "I got crabs at Dave's Crab Shack." Then I shoved my feet into my shoes, stuck a beanie on my head and grabbed my bag. I came back to give him one more kiss on the lips and then slipped away before he could grab me again.
"I'll be home later," I promised. "I'll bring dinner." He grunted in response. Not even bothering to open his eyes again. But his hand reached for my ass when I turned. "You left the toilet seat up again BY THE WAY!"
"Sorry, beautiful. I love you." And then I couldn't be mad anymore. He was lying on the bed, still looking like he was barely conscious, naked as the day he was born. And I was completely, totally, stupidly in love.
"It's okay. I love you too."