I have Owen's explicit permission to tell this story.
He said, "Are you going to put it on the blog?"
I said, "Are you sure it's ok for me to write it?"
"It's so funny! Why wouldn't you?"
"Um, because it will make you look like a complete goofball."
He said, "But I AM a complete goofball."
"Ok, sure, but you do realize that you will eventually meet some of the people reading the blog. Like my brother. Do you want my brother reading this stuff?"
"I don't care."
"Yeah, well, maybe I do." Or do I?
Let's see how this goes. And, B1, Mom and Ilena, if you are reading...well, I don't know what!
Our plan for Friday was simple. I would go to Owen's house straight from my happy hour. Owen was going home right after work--he was tired from a long week and wanted to relax. Late in the day, though, he sent me an email saying that a friend of his got fired and they were going for drinks after work. He would keep me updated about the timing. Fine.
When I got off the metro to meet the folks for my happy hour, I had a message from Owen. I called him back and we decided that it would make more sense for him to come to my place because I would get there earlier than he would get home. Fine.
I joined my friends and we had a good time. My phone did not have reception in the bar and I went outside to call Owen around 8pm to see if he knew how much longer he'd be out. He was with his friends in far away Rockville, drinking (drunk, in fact), and didn't figure on leaving for at least an hour. I said that I would probably not get home until after 9pm either. Fine.
I rejoined my friends and continued to eat and drink (moderately). We left around 8:45 and I when I got home I sent Owen a text, letting him know I'd arrived. Up to then, I still thought I would see him that night. But when I hadn't heard from him by 10pm, I started to have my doubts. I called him and he was very drunk and still in Rockville. I asked when he planned on leaving. Soon, he said. He put me on the phone with his friend, Stan (not the one who was fired), and we talked for a few minutes. When Owen got back on the line, I was annoyed, "Look, I'm sorry your friend got fired, but you have to make a choice. I deserve some consideration too!" Owen said, "But my friend was fired! Oh, I miss you!" I was exasperated, "You know, I think you should just go home. Just forget it." And I hung up.
As you may know, It's very unsatisfying to hang up on someone via cell phone. In this case, Owen called back about five minutes later and didn't seem to notice that I'd hung up. I could hear Stan shout in the background, "Dude, did she hang up? Did she totally hang up? Ask her, man, ask her!" But Owen didn't ask me. Instead he said he was leaving soon and he'd get to my place by 11:30pm. I wasn't thrilled but I said it was fine. Fine.
I stayed in the living room, watching tv, covered with a blanket. I wanted nothing more than to get into the bed and under the down comforter, but I was afraid that I wouldn't hear the doorbell if I went to my room. I fell asleep for a while and I woke up around 11:15pm. I had a strong feeling Owen would not be coming over. At 11:30pm, he called. His words were slurred and his voice was deep, "I'm in Rosslyn...I'm in Rosslyn." I was puzzled. What in the world was he doing in Rosslyn? It's not on the way to his place or mine. He sounded terrible. I pictured him roaming around the metro system, lost, passing out, getting sick--who knows what. I said, "Is your friend there? Let me talk to your friend." Stan came on the line and I said, "Where are you?"
He said, "We're near the Shady Grove metro." They had never left the original bar.
I said, "I don't know what you want me to do. I don't have a car, I can't come pick you up."
"I don't know what you're supposed to do."
"I don't want you to put him on the train alone. He can't go home alone. There's no way he can make it to my place. You have to stay with him. What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to take him to my house and he can sleep on the couch."
"Good. Yes. Take him to your house. Thank you."
I talked to Owen again, "Look, Stan is taking you home. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
He said, "Ok baby, you know I love you right?"
I said, "Yes, yes, I know. It's ok. Go get some sleep." I hung up.
Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Owen, sounding less drunk, "I'm at Stan's house now. I'm on the sofa."
"I really wanted to see you tonight and do the couple thing."
"The couple thing?"
Owen explained, "You know, the couple thing, where we fall asleep together and I have my arms around you and hold you."
"But you don't like to fall asleep like that." I said.
"Well, ok, but we could do that until I fell asleep. I really wanted to do that."
"I know, baby, I did too. We'll have lots of chances to do that."
"We will? We will. You know I love you, right? I really do. I really care about you."
"I care about you too."
"I love you baby."
"Are you still scared?"
"No, I'm not scared, I'm just not as drunk as you are." I laughed. "And I'm kind of pissed."
"Oh, ok. Don't be angry. I love you."
"Yes. Ok. Why don't you get some sleep and I'll talk to you tomorrow?"
We hung up.
Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was Owen. We had another short conversation where he told me where he was and that he loved me. "I love you. You know I love you, right?"
Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. Guess who? I was having a hard time not laughing through Owen's further declarations of love.
After that, I turned off my phone. I did not sleep particularly well but I was also not terribly upset. First, I was angry. Then I was worried. Finally, I was amused. Luckily, amusement won the day.
I don't want to be the woman who is a shrew because her man doesn't come home when he said he would. Ideally, he would have canceled when he decided to go out with his friends--but he still wanted to see me and didn't anticipate going overboard with the drinking. The circumstances were exceptional--it's not every day someone gets fired--and Owen kept me in the loop so I never felt ignored. I don't want to excuse his behavior and he needs to cut back on the drinking (he agrees)--but the four "I love you" calls at fifteen minute intervals made it impossible to be upset.
Some context: Owen has said "I love you" to me before. He was drunk the first time he said it, but not the second time. I told him I wasn't ready to say it. I explained it further when I saw him on Saturday, "It's not that I don't feel it, it's just that I want to know that the feeling is going to stick around before I say it." (It's been two months, people. We all know two months is nothing. It's fun--and hopefully it will last--but who knows?)
He said, "I say it when I feel it. What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing. But...but...this is why I wait. When you say it...when anyone says it...it sets up expectations. Expectations that I might not have otherwise, about the future, about what will happen with us. So if we break up in a couple of months, I'll be even more disappointed if I'd said it and didn't feel it anymore. I'd feel like even more of a relationship failure than I already am."
"Goddammit! I'm trying to say something important here, could you be serious for a MINUTE?"
"Oh, fine. I'm serious sometimes."
"Sure you are. But does any of that make sense?"
"Of course it does, but I still don't feel bad about dropping the L-bomb."
"The 'L-bomb'? Are you kidding? That really is a generation gap."
"Heh. I guess it is."
We did the couple thing a lot on Saturday and I amazed myself by not being angry or upset or frustrated or anything bad. I just didn't have those feelings. I was very happy to see him and we had a great time hanging out--first with some of my friends and later on our own. We went back to his place Saturday evening and watched a movie. I fell asleep on the couch (in his arms) and he had to wake me up to move me to the bedroom. "Get up! It's time to go to sleep!" I left early-ish on Sunday to go to do a fundraising thing with the rowing club.
I'm so damn happy when we're together, I can't believe my good luck.
Grateful for: my goofball.
Drop me a line.