7 Apr

I’m not really good at talking about anything vaguely romantic or intimate.

 In fact, I don’t really enjoy talking about emotional crap in any sort of capacity.  I get all clammy and weirded out when I feel like I have to confess to actually feeling something about anything, even if it is just expressing an adoration of puppies or chocolate cake.

Liz Lemon knows best.

 “It was great!” or “I was very happy” pretty much sum up the extent to which I feel comfortable responding to questions about deep desires.  I probably read too much Camus.

But, as I’ve mentioned, this whole moving across the world thing has all sorts of feelings up in my business, and it has taken such a damn big toll it is totally absurd.

I rarely, rarely, rarely worry about things in my life.  I think overcoming strong obsessions and dealing with OCD growing up kind of pushed my in the opposite direction. Instead of spending my life non-stop worrying and reflecting on everything, I go for the “smile at everything and deal with it, quickly, one by one” approach to life.


I’ve alluded to these minor panic attacks, yet I cannot express how much of a total basket case I felt yesterday. Like, more crazy than I have ever felt, ever.

We knew going into this process that Matthew and I might be split up for the first few months of training, but as we moved in our nominated areas we were told it would not be an issue.

Yesterday, though, before we found out our placements, we were told we probably wouldn’t be living together.

I totally shit a chicken. Like, it was weird for me to actually realize how awful that would feel and become so physically torn up about it.  I obviously will admit to adoring my partner, but holy hell did it terrify me more than I want to admit.

We have such awesome fellow trainees.  I can’t tell you how kind many of them were offering smiles and jokes and a general camaraderie, and how great that felt, even though I wanted to pass out.

But still, even recognizing our adoration, it is still uncomfortable for me to talk about.

When people ask about how long I’ve known my significant other or how we met or any sort of interrogation into the goings on of our personal life (which has been happening quite often), I tend to summarize the whole experience, “Weeeeeeell, we had this summer fling that just never really ended.”

And, that’s pretty accurate, albeit a sad little summation of a pretty big thing.

We met when I was 18, the summer before my freshman year of college.  As a year older, he came back to his hometown on summer break after his first year of school.  We both worked as lifeguards at a local swimming pool, spending our days watching the same ten kids who swam everyday, swimming laps in the early morning and teaching the little punks lessons together in the evenings.

We had gone on a few little outings together – running a 5k, playing volleyball after work with co-workers – but one evening after work we walked over to his house for some late dinner and a movie.

I’m sure he prepared some quintessential Matthew feast, a pizza, maybe, or Velveeta shells and cheese.  We flipped through some channels, watched Grease – for the first time of seven that summer, for whatever reason – and that was the end of a quiet, talk-filled, nice little evening.

And, when it was late and I went to leave, he walked me out to my car – a true gentlemen.

While flipping channels earlier, we came across some gymnastics movie.  It was probably Stick It, because Matthew has seen that more time than ten 13-year-olds combined.

“I love gymnastics,” I had said. “They make everything look so easy. I can’t even do a cartwheel.”

And while I didn’t think much of it, we brought it up again on our way out to the car and both modeled our poor acrobatic skills and laughed at our failures. (Seriously. We suck.  Our poor potential future progeny will be terrifyingly uncoordinated.)

Perhaps because we didn’t want the evening to end or maybe because it was a good excuse to grab my super beautiful ankles, Matthew helped me tag team the perfect cartwheel.  I went up on my hands, he grabbed my feet, and the goal was to execute something a kindergartner can do.

And execute it we did.

I feel completely on my ass.I felt so embarrassed sprawled out on the grass, I quickly stood up.

At the same time, Matthew felt so bad about potential killing his date that he went to help me up. While we may have had bad timing when it came to twirling through the air with the greatest of ease, we have stellar timing when it comes to the back of my head brutalizing his schnoz.

With a loud crack, blood poured out everywhere.  Here he is, leaning over trying to catch the blood streaming out of his nose, and I am just standing there, deer in the headlights, wanting to both run away and die believing he will never want to hang out again and also wanting to laugh at how much he was still smiling and having fun, even after I potentially broke his nose.

Which I did. The poor man needed surgery.

And that was our first date.

to be fair, he also had surgery for other purposes; fixing his deviated septum was a bonus. he had to wear a bandage under his nose for quite some time. while he later appreciated the fancy additions i added to clean bandages (save, maybe the hitler-stache he didn’t seem to embrace), i think he later came to appreciate the frivolity.

And though it was the best and worst first date ever, I still can’t imagine a stranger, more perfect day.

And while I would never have wanted to discuss my feelings about it, working through our brief terror yesterday really reminded me just how much I like this kid.

One of the biggest blessings to come out of the experience, like I mentioned, was feeling the awesome support from our fellow future volunteers. We are truly fortunate to be with such awesome people.

As we headed to lunch, I chatted with a volunteer who I just adore. I love listening to her speak, as she has such a confidence about her I truly covet and respect. She was so kind, mentioning her relief and minor tears when she too found out we would be together. I mentioned how ridiculous I felt, as I had the weirdest time grappling with being by myself.  I wanted to be able to do it. I won’t even see him much during the day!

She told me that in a partnership, one of the best things is being able to be raw with someone.  In life, we are really truly fortunate when we find that person we can be totally, unabashedly openly ourselves with.

I love that. Someone to be raw with, totally and completely.

And I think little says raw like busting up someone’s nose and still adoring every day together nearly six years later.

Damn, I’m lucky.

O to have life henceforth a poem of new joys!
To dance, clap hands, exult, shout, skip, leap, roll on, float on!
To be a sailor of the world bound for all ports,
A ship itself, (see indeed these sails I spread to the sun and air,)
A swift and swelling ship full of rich words, full of joys.
– Walt Whitman

One Response to “Cartwheels”

  1. ruth krueger (@tromtt) April 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    wonderful as always!

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