I have been issued a formal invitation to cohabitate with another human being. In other words, my boyfriend asked me to move in with him. Currently we live in different states and get to see each other about once a month. I find this set-up to be suckypoopoo, not to mention somewhat costly. We’ve dated long distance for the past eight months or so, meaning the physical amount of time we’ve spent together amounts to about 35 days give or take. However, I’m pretty sure we know each other better than some couples who have been together for a lifetime. Not only that, but he’s perfect for me. Did you get that? I didn’t say he’s perfect, no one is, but he’s perfect for me. He doesn’t mind that I love strip clubs and beer, and hours of quiet time. I breathe easier when he’s around. He also has a kickass old timey claw-foot bathtub, a sexy Southern accent, and he knows almost every line from the greatest movie ever: Tombstone.
So why am I still terrified at the prospect of cohabitating? I had a seven hour drive home last weekend to think about it and come to some conclusions. I’ve spent the past year learning to live alone. It’s something I’d never done before. I have always had a roommate, family member or significant other that required I share my space with them. The closest I came to my own space before getting my current apartment was living in my mother’s basement. And the first night there, I called my brother crying in a panic because there were no windows and the room became pitch dark when you turned off the lights. I was screaming into the phone “I can’t live here! I can’t even see my own hand!” while Brother J did his best to pacify me and convince me that it was going to be ok. At 27 years of age, I bought and religiously used a nightlight. And lived IN MY MOTHER’S BASEMENT.
But now, I truly live on my own. I buy my own groceries (Humus and pita chips and lots and lots of paper towels. Something akin to the amount of spaghetti sauce Bridget Fonda buys when she gets out of prison in Point of No Return), veg on the couch in my lesbian pajamas while watching marathon sessions of Top Chef and What Not to Wear, use paper towels when the toilet paper runs out, and I don’t have to worry what anyone thinks about me. Because what would someone think of me? Would they still love me if they knew my dirty secrets? Would I still love me if I knew what someone else who loved me thought about my living habits?
Ultimately, these things are pretty insignificant. They are just minor fears, and nothing worth doing has ever been without risk or fear. I realized on the drive home, that yes, I’m afraid, but more than anything I can’t wait to make a life with this person. To stop driving away from him. To get used to the sounds of him coming home from work, tie toenail flys with him on the weekends, and wake up next to him in the mornings. To be secure in the fact that we are still individuals with our own lives, who when put together make those lives infinitely better.
We put together a 600 piece puzzle over the holidays. It was one of my favorite things that we did (other than staying up to watch Tombstone and reciting the lines out loud to each other, and staying up talking and giggling like conspiratorial children about whatever almost every night) over the course of the week. It was a map of the world. Each of us worked on our own part of the map without getting in the other person’s way, actually helping one another out as we continued to elaborate on our own sections until everything came together perfectly. We work effortlessly together.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s just a puzzle for Christ’s sake. But if you knew me. Knew that no one in their right mind would ever check the words “works well with others” next to a list of personality characteristics with my name on it. In fact, if they could, they’d probably check “works well holed up in a distant bathroom somewhere on a remote uninhabited island where she can bark orders at herself and no one can hear her for thousands of miles.” Than you’d understand.
He didn’t even make fun of me when I didn’t know where the Philippines was located. Now that’s what I call love.