My boyfriend offered me a drawer in his dresser for my stuff, and I threw up in my mouth a little bit.
I’m pretty sure he didn’t notice, because I’m good at hiding things like that. Instead of spitting it out onto his bare feet I swallowed it like any properly-raised country girl would do, and I stuttered “oh, wow…thank you, that’s nice, um wait, what?” and when I couldn’t think of anything else to stall with, I just threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. When I pulled away and it looked like he might say something else, I kissed him more.
Works every time!
I’ve never had a serious boyfriend that lived in his own space. I’ve had casual boyfriends that lived with roommates or in their sister’s basements, or serious boyfriends that lived far away and visited on the weekends and then just BAM moved in with me. But this – two totally functioning households, separately maintained but frequented by each other on a regular basis – this is new.
I didn’t take him up on the drawer. I did leave a spare jar of fancy moisturizer in his medicine cabinet for about a month, until I needed it at home so took it back. A few times we’ve half-joked about going to the mall for some underwear to keep at his place, for those afternoons I stop by to just say hello and then leave feeling not so ladylike. But we haven’t.
Since this is such a new experience for me, I try to tread lightly. I have a fear of coming on too strong, or that he’ll suddenly change his mind and I’ll be crushed. Crushed! But he keeps acting like it’s no big deal and in fact makes perfect sense to do things like bring my laundry to his house rather than stay home and do it at mine. Usually it’s even his suggestion. I find this thrilling and fantastic, but also a bit scary. I don’t want to be ‘that girl’: the one that shows up with laundry all the time, presumptuous and cocky, fabric softener in tow. I don’t want to get comfortable and make assumptions and then have him say “whoa, back the fuck up woman!”
So it continues to catch me off-guard when Paulie delves even deeper into the ‘We, not I‘ realm. He’s moving, so he asks my opinion on flooring colors and patterns. He talks to me about paint. He asks where I think the chickens should go, and the garden beds. He asks for help finding a new stove and refrigerator. I make a point to be clear, mostly for myself, I say things like ‘YOUR house’ and ‘YOUR yard.’ I say “you are so lucky you live two doors down from a carnicería…you’ll be living off of that place, huh?” when I fully well know that I will be living off of those tacos five days out of every other week, too.
Last week he showed up at my apartment with a pile of his clothes, which he put on my dresser and said “I brought some clothes to leave here…is that okay?” I fought the urge to start sweating profusely and found an empty drawer in my old wooden file cabinet for them. I’m an excellent hostess. And an okay girlfriend, I guess.
Because he’s moving, after work we’ve been at his new place every night, me joining him after I get off of work and trying to do what I can to help. Afterward we go to the old place, where I need to catch up on computer stuff before bed. I noticed tonight that, for the second or third time this week, when I sit down at his desktop and begin my evening’s e-baloney, he sits next to me within a few minutes with the laptop. I work on email bullshit and blog stuff , he does address change bullshit and carries on a dialogue with each individual website about how stupid they are, and everyone is stupid, and he hates everyone. Because this is so incredibly unlike him, it makes him even more endearing to me.
So here we are, sitting side by side, typing and muttering (or in my case, chuckling) under our breath. I glance at him out of the corner of my eye, sitting 18 inches away from me, absorbed in his own glowing screen. I can’t help but think “this is what it would be like if we lived together.”
We talk about it sometimes. About how if we didn’t have kids we’d have moved in together after two weeks like a couple of lovestruck lesbians. About how, because of the kids, it’s too soon. Because of us too.
Or, maybe because of me. He brings it up more than I do – tests the waters by bringing the subject to light now and then. Not very often, and he does it very safely. “I was thinking about you and I, living together.”
“Oh?” I ask, carefully. “And what did that look like?”
“I don’t know, just little things. Cooking together, reading together. Watching TV. Yelling at the kids together (this elicits a laugh from me – he’s not exactly a yeller). Waking up together.”
He has me at waking up together. “Well,” I say, “that sounds nice. Maybe some day, you never know.” And then I throw my arms around him and start kissing his talking mouth.