Here I am. Here I am. Two days (25 hours, actually) from turning thirty. I don't know how I feel about this. Scared maybe, hopeful. How old am I? How old is 30 these days? It's been a dramatic week. I spent some time thinking about my dad. What would he be like if he wasn't sick? I mentioned this to a friend and my voice started to tremble. And my thought is if he was normal... I think he'd be a dick. Then again it's hard to know when the sickness took hold, and what his employment record would be like.
I came home Tuesday night after a reasonable day of work, and crashed in front of the sofa to watch The Ice Harvest again, which this time its noir sensibilities seemed stronger than in the theater. Still a great picture. And then Aili came in. She'd been weird lately. In some ways we still have our own autonomous lives. She works long hours, I work long hours. I watch movies and have a couple beers, she makes herself a Manhattan and goes over some of her work and then throws on some music in the bedroom. Sometimes we have sex, sometimes we both come home and collapse into bed, sometimes she's just not in the mood (which I can't suggest I've ever felt the same). I go into work around noon, she goes in around nine, so I generally wake up a beat as she shuffles out, or I get up with her (rarely, if I've beered myself too much, I sleep through her alarm). Weekends I spend a lot of time working on reviews and every night I tend to spend some time writing. We go out together for at least one meal on Sundays (this is not enforced, but has become a habit that I don't think either of us want to break), and occasionally out dancing on Thursdays or Fridays, but it's like fuckingplus, often, maybe because we rarely eat together outside of weekends.
So, she came in my room, the TV room, and starts pacing. She seemed stressed. I asked her if she wanted a smoke, as she's been fighting the quitting for quite some time. She laughed me off. I didn't know why. I can't approximate the conversation, but my first instinct was that I was in trouble. And I said something along the lines of 'Is it over, is this what this is?" and she started to cry. I felt at a loss.
"No, you idiot." She said.
"I'm not an idiot."
"You are about this."
"So the exact opposite?"
"No. Damn it, this isn't how I wanted to start this conversation."
"What's this conversation."
"I need a drink."
"Okay, what do you want?"
"Look, I, uh, love you."
"Are you sure?"
"How's that a response to what I just said?"
"I, uh, I. I don't know, it's not fair of me to say that. But when we entered into this union I didn't even know if I'd ever have sex with you, Aili, so I was taking it slow with the love thing."
"Do you think you could love me?"
And here, dear readers, is the thing I had been keeping from her and you for at least a month (to which the astute reader will surely say AHA! and then shout neener neener neener). I do love my wife. I think I've always been in love with her. I've definitely been crazy about her since we met, and yeah, I did marry her to get closer and maybe to get in her pants. But even though we've led separate lives the best part of my day is often when I wake up next to her. Or the times where I've woken up in the middle of the night and pulled her tighter, and at least once she woke up and softly kissed my hand. The conversations in bed. The laughs we've had during sex (our sex is often funny as we both have no problem saying what we like, and sometimes find ourselves talking about other things while we congress, often at some point near climax revolving around one of us putting our hands into the other's mouth to quiet us down). The times snuggling on the couch watching something I have to review, and her telling me what she's thought (sometimes we disagree, but more often we do, and sometimes I smuggle a fragment of her thoughts into my work). Her accent. The way she smoked a cigarette. The way she sometimes looks at me like I'm in the kind of trouble any man would want to be in. But it's not the carnality, even if I could write stanzas about the softness of her lips and the subtle warmth of her caress. God damnit, it's the fucking intimacy.
She repeated "Do you think you could, you know, love me for the rest of your life, if even only a little?"
"I, Aili, I'm pretty sure I love you. I don't know how you stop that."
"Cause I'm pregnant."
"Are you sure?"
"I saw a doctor today, after taking a pee test."
"When were you going to tell me?"
"When it seemed realer."
"So the last couple?"
"So, a kid."
"Just, just fuck, not fuck fuck, but fuck."
"Yeah, happy thirtieth birthday."
"That was exactly what I was thinking."
If all goes according to Hoyle [(c) Quentin Tarantino] I'll be a father in eight months. I didn't plan this. I didn't plan any of this. In fifth grade I wanted to be an astronaut. Throughout middle school I wanted to be an actor. By high school, a writer/director. Now, I'm a guy in Quality Control with a lawyer for a wife and a receding hairline, a light beer gut, a little athlete's foot, and a kid on the way.
"Aili. You know what?"
"That sounds pretty cool."
"Martin Harrison Houx."
"You're fucking kidding me, he sounds like an 19th century president."
"It's the only name I've ever thought of."
"What if it's a girl?"
"You get to name her if she's a girl. Fair?"
"After your mother? What about a middle name?"
"I haven't thought of it."
"We still have some time."
I stood up and grabbed my wife. Grabbed her. And something was different. I've been in relationships before, but for the first time I get it. The partnership. I'm going to have this woman's back for as long as the wheels stay on. And I know that if I need to lean on her for anything she's going to be there, because I know I would kill a man who'd try to harm her, I would do anything for this woman. And I held her and then we both began ripping at each other's clothes. As a bragging man, I would say that I've made a woman cry while having sex. But as an honest man, I must admit I've never cried during sex before. And there we were, a mess of each other, on the floor of our home. And we were both weeping and giddy. I tear up just thinking about it. I'm going to be a dad. I'm going to have a kid with the woman I love.
"You know, once we have this kid, your immigration papers are as good as gold."
My shoulder still hurts from that one.