1. Green Jell-O and Snapping Turtles
I have a dream.
And in this dream I’m under the covers in bed, just a few scant inches away from Carter’s body. I stare at his prone form lying next to me, the greenish-blue glow from the alarm clock on the bedside table providing just enough illumination for me to see the shallow rise and fall of his chest. The sheet is draped low over his hips as he sleeps peacefully with one arm flung over his eyes and the other resting on his taut, naked stomach. I slide my body ever so slowly across the bed, careful not to disturb him, until I’m so close I can feel the heat from his skin warming me from head to toe. I pull my arms out from under the sheet and my hands reach out towards him. I connect with his smooth, muscular chest, slide my fingers up his body, and...choke the ever living shit out of him.
Okay, that’s not really a dream. It’s more of a wish if you will, something I fantasize about when business is slow at the shop, when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, or pretty much every waking moment of every single day when I find myself yawning and cranky from lack of sleep. But it’s not like I would ever follow through with this fantasy. I love Carter. I really do. Sometimes it’s just a toss-up on whether or not I love sleep more.
A few months ago, I hadn't even known Carter existed. Okay, I knew he existed; somewhere out there, over the rainbow, in a land far, far away living his own life. I never believed in a million years that he would ever stop and give me, his one-night-stand from college, a second thought. Turns out I was wrong on both counts. A land far, far away had turned out to be a few miles from where I lived and that second thought I figured he had never given? Well, much to my dismay, and using a Harlequin Romance novel cliché, he had spent years pining for me and searching the world for 'the one that got away'.
That's me by the way, in case you haven’t been paying attention.
Here I am, a twenty-four-year-old single mother to Gavin (the wonderful parting gift I received in appreciation of my mad virginity-giving-up skillz, ‘yo) when suddenly, the guy I spontaneously gave said virginity to after a rousing game of beer pong at a frat party shows up in my home town to whisk me off my feet and claim the son he never knew he had. This doesn’t happen in real life. Something this perfect only happens in books or John Hughes movies.
Alright, so Carter has never stood outside my window holding a radio above his head and he's never run down the street to sweep me up into his arms for a toe-curling kiss and hand me a pair of diamond earrings he gave to some other skank just moments before. Our story isn't necessarily a textbook eighties movie. There have been anxiety attacks, freak-outs, drunken ramblings, inappropriate cursing, misunderstandings, arguments, two-finger eye-threats, and chocolate covered sex in a public place that only by the hair of a gnat’s testicle avoided being publicly televised. Through it all though, Carter and I have managed to work through our problems with the speed an accuracy of a thirty-minute sitcom on prime time television. It’s no “Some Kind of Wonderful,” but it’s damn near close. I’m still waiting for my street kiss and diamond earrings, though.
In the middle of all this chaos, I am also busy following my dream of opening my own candy and cookie shop. I know right? Why not add one more thing to worry about to my growing pile. There’s a reason why I have a magnet on my fridge that says, “You can sleep when you’re dead.”
My best friend Liz and I had always talked of one day owning businesses together. While I was busy with the whole single mom gig and put my aspirations on a back burner, Liz was finishing up college and got a head start on her dream. Little did I know, she had also made plans to assure that my hopes didn’t die along with my ability to sneeze and not piss myself.
I’ve always been a pretty independent person, so having someone hand me my dream in a neat little package with a bow on top took some getting used to. Liz had inherited a good chunk of change from her grandfather when he passed away years earlier and putting that money to good use by purchasing a building where we could have adjoining businesses was the only option for her. It had taken me a few days to get my head out of my ass and realize that she didn’t do it out of pity. She had done it because she loves me and having her dream come true wouldn’t have meant nearly as much to her if mine wasn’t becoming a reality right along with her.
So in summary, I am EXHAUSTED. And I guess that brings us back to my choking fantasy. Living with another human being takes a little getting used to. So far there are only minimal amounts of irritating qualities we find in each other, and we’ve overcome those obstacles and are still growing strong. I love Carter more than I ever thought possible, and he has proven to be the best father a woman could ever want for her son. But I swear to God, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Christ’s childhood friend, Biff, that if he doesn’t stop waking me up at four-fifty-eight in the morning, every f**king morning, with his buzz saw snoring, I am going to go David Carradine on his ass.
Oh yes, young grasshopper, you shall choke in your sleep.
Although the more I think about it, David Carradine choked himself in some weird sex thing, didn’t he? I don’t think I can convince Carter to choke himself out no matter how naked I get.
I’ve tried everything to make my nights of sleep less irritating. I've gently pushed his arm so he would roll over because according to Google, a simple change of position will put a halt to the snoring.
False. And shut up, everything on Google is true! How else would I know that the world’s oldest living goldfish is forty-one and his name is Fred? Or that when you type the word “askew” in Google search the page will tilt slightly clockwise? These are facts, people!