Like all good stories, things go wrong when you give a thumbs up. It’s an open invitation to karma to come and wreck your world.
In the hotel shower, I stood and let the water wash over my bald head. The pressure was great, which can be unusual for a hotel. But this was a fancy hotel that cost me at least three digits for one-night stay. It was my wife’s birthday, so I splurged. Through the curtain we talked and joked. With the kids staying at grandma’s, we were alone for the first time in 18 months. We connected in that easy way a couple together for 25 years can. And I can still make her laugh.
I put my head under the water, feeling it ramp off my nose and forehead. Peace. I was at peace. My wife muffled something to me that I couldn’t’ hear.
“What?” I said. “I didn’t hear you.”
Again, she mumbled. No, our conversation is too good tonight to deal in mumbles. So being me, over expressive and always looking for a shock laugh, I threw back the shower curtain.
“What did you say woman!” I yelled.
Except it was not my wife that I made eye contact with. It was the room service lady with a bottle of chilled champagne. Crap.
Apparently, my brother-in-law and his wife wanted to surprise us with some bubbly. And my wife didn’t realize the bathroom door was open and couldn’t foresee that I would throw the curtain open with such gusto. But given that we’ve been together so long, she probably should have anticipated it.
The lady quickly darted her eyes to the ground, after a brief midsection stop, and placed the champagne on the dresser. I eked like a school girl and closed the curtain, certain that this poor lady thought my wife and I were playing some sicko perverted game. Honestly, you couldn’t have scripted it better. And not knowing what to do, I stuck my hand out of the shower and gave her a thumbs up. In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the “we’re cool” reassurance that I was hoping for.
And this was where the night started.
After the 45 minutes of laughter from my wife, we continued to get ready.
“Honey,” my wife said. “Do you have a sewing kit?”
Now, I know that I’m a Jack of all trades. I’ve got skills and once fixed a grocery cart wheel with just duct tape and a mulit-tool while carrying a baby. But no, I didn’t think to bring a sewing kit with me but props to my wife to thinking that I’m actually that prepared.
“No?” I said.
“The side of my dress split!” she said.
“I wish I could help, but my shoe laces just fell apart.”
We’ve got problems. My wife’s hot number hadn’t been worn in over a year. We’ve been on lockdown so where could she wear that? To the drive thru? And as she pulled it on, a four-inch seem ripped up on the side.
As for me, the dog had gotten to my boots. They are the last pair of shoes that he hadn’t eaten yet. I’m down to them and to flip-flops that he’s made it half way through. But apparently, he got the shoelaces and left me with tatters. And as this was only a night away, we had no other clothes with us besides shorts and a stinky t-shirt. However, as all parents know, when you get a night away from the children, you get really resourceful.
I spent ten minutes using old boy scout knots to tie my shoelaces back together. And if I’m being honest here, I’m pretty damn proud of my work.
This is nothing compared to my wife, though. She found a black binder clip in her purse and used it to close the seam. Yes, it would press up against her all night, but it mostly closed the rip. So finally, my binder clipped wife and my falling apart shoes left for dinner.
Things were pretty great at dinner. It was a new place we had never been. Homemade bread steamed on our table and the garlic butter begged to be licked. After a basket or two, our prime rib dinners arrived. It would be an understatement to say it was heavenly because there was so much sin put into this dish that it had to come from the other place. Juicy, unhealthy, fattening, and glorious.
We continued to talk, finding it easy. Even after all these years, I’m still discovering things about her. There are still pages unturned in her story and she amazes me. However, I noticed that after ten minutes I was the only one doing the talking. Not that I mind that, I love to talk. It’s a combination of my greatest strength and weakness all rolled into one.
“Are you ok?” I asked my wife.
“No,” she said.
I was worried. Was she about to drop some bad news on me? Did the binder clip come undone? Is the room service lady going to sue me?
“I think I’m going to be sick,” she said. Dammit. “I need to go outside.”
I’m not sure what happened, but I think she might have actually eaten herself sick. There was just so much. Bread, salads, prime rib; all so good. But my wife isn’t’ used to powering though meals like me.
I admit, I should have just paid the bill and gone outside with her. Instead, I finished my prime rib. Seriously, it was good. But then I did pay the bill and found my wife walking nervous circles in the middle of downtown. I walked her to our car where her grip on my arm left bruises. She started making little gagging noises that made me want to lose it. Luckily, she didn’t puke on the car ride to back to the hotel.
After riding the elevator up ten flights with two burly unmasked dill holes, we made it to our room where she promptly took off her binder clip ensemble and yakked in the toilet. I read a book. As I undid my shoelaces, they broke in a new spot and I considered just leaving them in the hotel room the next morning.
By 9:30, my wife was out cold, and I was reading a book. The book was fantastic for anyone wondering.
The next morning, my wife felt much better as we gathered our things to check out of the hotel.
I thanked the front desk, gave them a thumbs up for good measure, and we walked outside to our car. I want to make it clear here that I had a wonderful time with my wife, and I would do the whole night again. Just being with her is my joy, even when things get tough.
Outside, I had to make a decision.
Should we try and drive over the newly erupted sewer pipe in the street and risk a sinkhole, or just hang out smelling what was pouring down the street? Apparently, this just happened and was the only street out of the hotel. It’s a weird sight to see water literally bubbling up from asphalt. Our night had flowed into our day.
We got into the car and I gunned it. Luckily, everything was fine except I would need a good carwash on the way home.
“I love you,” my wife said and smiled. That smile that I can feel in my chest.
“I have to tell you something,” I told my wife. She smiled bigger.
“I can’t find my debit card.”