I woke up to the sound of typing. My boyfriend was sitting at our desk, on his computer, working, on Christmas morning. On Christmas morning! As a self employed web developer he makes his own hours and I often wake up at 3:00 am to see him diligently typing away. This scenario usually includes a sleep addled murmur from myself, contributing to his evening by adding humor and I think it’s a charming aspect of our dynamic, most of the time.
Yes, seeing my boyfriend on a computer is nothing new for me. Sometimes I find it endearing. Isn’t my web developer boyfriend cute? Sometimes I find it incredibly annoying and I am sure he is doing it to distance himself from me, our relationship and true intimacy, but mostly it’s just seeing my boyfriend at work. I like that he makes his own hours, can work from home and is sympathetic to my own computer attachment.
This morning, however, it was the most awful, annoying, rude and horrible thing he could be doing.
“Is that how you are going to be spending this morning?” My first sentence of the day, “Do you have a lot of work to do?” You could practically hear venom dripping from my voice, forming poisonous pools beneath his feet. He would have to step carefully.
“Good morning, sweetie.” His mild reply, “I don’t know that I have a lot of work to do but there is some stuff that I would like to finish before we go to dinner.”
I sat up. My hair was Medusa like, radiating from my head in kinky spikes. It seemed appropriate to my mood but I pulled it back into a ponytail in order to lend some dignity to my words and the fight I was picking. “How much work,” I wanted to know, “How many hours do you need to commit to the computer this morning?”
His look was confused and pained. “I don’t know that I can quantify it.”
I wasn’t going to let him get away with that. It was Christmas morning and I wanted some attention. “Well, you told me that you wanted to get ten hours in yesterday. You quantified it yesterday. How about today? Why can’t you quantify it today??”
“Sweetie,” He said, “What is it you want?”
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted but I didn’t want him working. “It’s just that I thought Christmas morning might be a little different,” I said, “You had mentioned reading some Paul Bowles to me and maybe we could make breakfast or whatever.” I sighed. “Forget it. I suppose I’ll just read. I have to get ready soon, anyway.” I was shifting to the martyr phase.
“No babe,” He said, “Let’s make breakfast, I am hungry. I would love that ‘froggy-in-a-hole’ that you make so well.” Soothingly, “Come on, let’s go downstairs.”
Far from mollified I went downstairs in a heavy silence to begin preparing my breakfast specialty. He followed me down into the kitchen, bringing the offensive laptop and settled it onto the kitchen table. After surveying the contents of the refrigerator, I was almost satisfied to announce that there were no eggs. There could be no froggy-in-a-hole without eggs. It looked like our Christmas morning was a bust.
Undeterred, my boyfriend suggested that he make a trip to the Asian market down the street. “Those pagans are sure to be open,” he joked. I didn’t laugh.
“If you want,” I said, “otherwise you can have some canned soup for breakfast. We have plenty of that.” Full of Christmas cheer, I was. My darling bandito ignored my surliness, gave me a quick hug and left to buy eggs. The kitchen was full of dirty dishes but I couldn’t be bothered to clean it up. Instead, I grabbed my novel, my cigarettes, and my Roastaroma tea and headed outside to smoke and feel sorry for myself.
While outside, sudden cramps alerted me to another gift I received for Christmas. I quickly ran back upstairs. Confirmation of this reoccurring gift explained my foul mood but it certainly didn’t alleviate it. I silently thanked my body for the gift that kept on giving and braced myself for the onslaught of cramps and aching that was rapidly mounting in my abdominal region and lower back.
My boyfriend returned with two dozen eggs, which I found incredibly irritating. I preferred the organic, free range eggs with added omegas, and though I would eat the caged hen eggs when there was nothing else, I didn’t want to eat 2 dozen if I could help it. My poor Carlito; he could do nothing right.
Froggy-in-a-hole, for those of you unfamiliar with the pinnacle of thrifty breakfasts, is simply a piece of bread with a hole cut in the middle, fried in a buttered pan with an egg. The egg rests in the cut hole. I fry up the cut-out pieces as well because they make an edible tool for sopping up yolk. I brought froggy-in-a-hole to our relationship. It was one of my contributions. Some of his contributions include: the ingredients for froggy-in-a-hole, frying pan, stove, kitchen and the damn house we were living in. Still, I fried up that egg and bread combination like I was mother earth herself; beneficent Goddess extraordinaire, slaving to make my man his breakfast. While I cooked, he washed all of the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.
He was falling over himself to be considerate, insisting that I share his portion because I had made only one for myself while making two for him. I refused. After breakfast - which he praised mightily - he dragged me back to bed, ignoring my protests and covering me with kisses and platitudes. With my head in his lap and his fingers gently stroking my hair, he read out loud my first Paul Bowles story. It wasn’t a sweet Christmas story but neither of us are sweet Christmas story types. Ignoring time obligations he read, “A Distant Episode” and “The Voice.” I loved them and managed a brief but sincere smile for him. After reading, he rubbed my aching back before quietly reminding me that we had dinner plans to ready ourselves for.
Two painkillers and one hour later we were driving to his mother’s house for Christmas dinner. Once there, he made sure that I was installed in the most comfortable chair while he mixed a special martini – for its muscle relaxing properties – and presented it to me like a professional, pouring it from a chilled shaker into a chilled glass. He served me h'orderves while I sat chatting to his cousin about favorite science fiction novels. At dinner he made sure I had enough to eat and was jumping up to get me more salad, wine, bread or my third amaretto chocolate mousse tartlet. Yes, I ate three; you got a problem with that?
Relaxed by wine, vodka, food and acetaminophen, I suddenly realized that I had a very sweet and handsome guy. I realized that I had been musing over this thought for quite some time. Gosh, I loved him. I loved looking at him, sitting with him, holding his hand under the table and exclaiming over his baby pictures. Looking around, I was really in love with everybody at this point. I loved watching his cousin make her fifth Manhattan (she was really quite skilled), I loved listening to his brother in law snore at the end of the couch, I loved the fire place, I loved the crystal goblets, and I loved that my novio guapo was gathering our coats and my malleable form and saying Goodnight.
As I snuggled into our bed he sat down at the computer desk and logged in. Two seconds later he crawled over my mound of blankets to kiss me goodnight and wish me sweet dreams. I was fuzzy with alcohol, food and affection. How sweet and wonderful he was. It occurred to me, as I drifted off to sleep with the lullaby of typing and mouse clicks, to wonder at my complete change of mood. When I had awoken from that same bed, practically in the same position, hours earlier, he was neglectful and uncaring and the world was evil. Now I was saturated with love and positive that he was perfect, my prince, my Latin love. I felt no pain and actually felt a little guilty.
“Sweetie,” I asked, “If you hadn’t read Paul Bowles to me earlier, would you be getting in bed right now?” I didn’t ask for my sake; sleep would claim me whether he was next to me or not. I felt bad that he had to continue working.
“Don’t worry about it, Corazon,” he said, “Goodnight.”
Isn’t it simply amazing how perception can change over the course of a day? I mean, I was really angry to see him working when I woke up, yet, being the generous person that I am, completely got over it. I was really such a tolerant and patient girlfriend, indulgent with his work schedule and strange hours. Yup, he sure is lucky to have me.