Buoyancy

I had big plans for last Sunday. I was going to get up early, before the sun, and head out to see the local balloon festival. It’s an annual event but I always seem to forget about it.

I looked it up online. Gates opened at 6:00 AM, the “balloon glow” started at 6:30, lift off begun at 7:00. I wasn’t sure what a balloon glow is, but it sounded like it would take my breath away. I planned on wasting the morning away, wandering around looking at the craft booths and buying trinkets when the launch was over. I charged and packed my camera, getting ready the night before. I set my alarm for the 4:45 and I had to leave the house by 5:00. (Those who know me are guffawing right now.)

I slept through my alarm. All four of them. Typical.

So. New plan! Get out of the house for the usual (I say “usual” but it’s only been a month of doing this, so you should read “usual” as “trying to be cool about it but then you see me wriggle excitedly”) brunch date with the lovely Linnea, her awesome husband Jeremy, and their beautiful baby Eleanor. We watch Doctor Who, eat tasty things, and generally nerd out all over the place together. I always end up bogarting the baby (because, honestly, who wouldn’t hog a baby that cute all to themselves at every available opportunity?), jiggling her in my arms for most of the day, staring at/planting kisses on the back of her head for most of it because she likes to be able to face out and see! things! When she tolerates me holding her and, you know, actually looking at her sweet little face, ohhhhh. It’s marvelous. It has become a bit of a running joke by now: any time Eleanor smiles at me, a full fledged gummy grin that reaches up to her eyebrows and lights up her whole face, I exclaim how “I DIE”.

Sundays are what I look forward to all week. I’m new to having actual friends, but I think I’m doing ok at/with this development.

Once the Who episode ended on last Sunday, Linnea and I played around with makeup (I’m not used to it and that copper lipstick was SCARY, no matter what Linnea might say to try and convince me otherwise.) and we made a trip to Hobby Lobby where we bought yarn for baby blankets (me) and ribbons to make hair bows (Linnea. Also, I will probably be drafted to help with this. Which I am totally fine with because OMG TEENY BABIES WITH HAIR BOWS!)

At the end of the night, just before I had to leave, we plopped Eleanor on a blanket in  the living room. I’d heard Linnea say on Twitter that Eleanor had learned in the last couple of days how to scootch forward, a new skill that I hadn’t seen her do the week before, so of course I wanted to see it. But she didn’t seem very keen on rolling onto her belly and in fact she seemed pretty happy to just look up at us so, just for kicks, I started tickling her belly and doing that articulated, over-exaggerated laugh that you do with babies, that “a-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha” that you do.

And she laughed for the first time at me. I’d seen her do it before but was rare and it was always at Jeremy’s beard tickling her.

But this time she laughed at me. 

So there I was, sitting in the middle of the living room floor surrounded by friends, clutching my chest for fear that my heart would fly right out of it otherwise, and you know what you can’t do when you are clutching your chest? Tickle a baby. So I’d start tickling her and there’d she go again with the giggling, and I’d hold my wildly beating, delighted heart in and dissolve into laughter and we did this over and over and oh! Look at that. There I am. Lighter than air.

Like a balloon.

Christening and cringing

I don’t have a champagne bottle that I can break against the side of the Internet (…tubes?), so I’ll christen the changeover to WordPress with an embarrassing story.

A long time ago (2 years ago, for you playing along at home), in a city not so very far away (like, 10 miles), a girl was meeting a boy for their very first date. She had high hopes for the night. She had primped and preened and donned this really awesome salmon colored ruffly tank that she found at The Gap the one and only time that she ever gone in and it was only because she had gotten grease from her Burger King on her original shirt that day, but lo. She found that shirt and it was adorable. She had pulled on old, worn-in jeans that she found in the back of her closet, even though she wasn’t sure that they were going to fit anymore, but LO. They fit. And they made her butt look fiiiiiiiine.

She was freaking ready.

She met him at a bar and talked with him for a long time over the rim of their glasses, about how to brew beer and politics and chemistry and Russian and and and. He was smart and funny and she found herself enjoying the way his eyes crinkled up and then shone when he laughed at her jokes. Eventually the bar started up with their live music, and because she is a bit deaf, they picked their way out of the crowded bar (asking for a good recommendation for a pool hall from the bartender before they left), and walked out into the sultry summer night, holding hands.

They climbed into his truck and made their way to a large, busy pool hall where they had beer and talked and she tried desperately hard not to make an ass out of herself, to just Be Cool.

“Hey”, she thought to herself. “You know what makes being cool/interesting/funny easier? More beer! Social lubrication! Perfect solution! What could go wrong!”

So, she kept the beers coming and they kept having a good time and she won a game of pool and he won the next three because she is a shitty pool player, and even more so when (really) drunk.

And at some point, they kissed. A tender affair, with hesitant beginnings and a strong finish, her hand on his chest to keep standing, his hand gently tangled in her tresses. Perfection.

They shut down the pool hall and then they wandered outside and stood outside for a long while talking, him smoking, her watching the lines of his face when he smiled.

It was the perfect date.

************************

A little over year later, I asked him about that night. “What do you remember best”, I asked.

“Well”, he said. “I thought you were cute. Very funny. Although…”

“Although?”

“Yeah. I thought it was a bit weird when I complimented your beautiful eyes and you said, matter of factly, that they ‘were the color of poop’.”

….

“….I DID WHAT?”

“Yeah. I thought that was a bit weird.”

“I DID WHAT???”

“Yeah. You said your eyes were the color of poop.”

“…JESUS CHRIST. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW? FOR FUCKS SAKE, TELL ME YOU ARE KIDDING. TELL ME YOU ARE YANKING MY GODDAMN CHAIN.”

“Nope.”

“OH MY GOD, I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER THIS EVEN A LITTLE BIT. WHY DID I DRINK SO FUCKING MUCH THAT NIGHT. OH MY GOD…Did I at least tell you the story behind WHY I said that? The family joke?”

“….Noooo.”

“Oh my god, I SAID THAT and then didn’t even EXPLAIN IT? Oh my god. Oh my god. I want to die. I am going to die. Ok. OK! I will tell you now. Because that will totally make up for it, right? That will make up for the fact that the most memorable part of our FIRST DATE was ME talking about POOP.”

“…Sure? That’ll make up for it?…”

“OHHHHHHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD. I CANNOT BELIEVE THAT I DID THIS. I WAS TRYING TO BE SO COOL! Ok. OKAY. The family joke is that when they were kids, my mom told her little sister one day when they were having a fight, that her eyes were ‘the color of boogers’ and then my aunt retorted ‘Well, YOURS are the color of POOP.’ And so…now I have eyes the color of poop? Because I…have my mother’s eyes?”

“Ah!”

“…Wait. I SAID THIS. On our FIRST DATE. And you KEPT DATING ME?”

“I thought you were cute.”

“Truth, bitches.”