When I was younger, I had romantic notions about what love
was. I mean, they weren’t so much my
notions as they were the notions of Nora Ephron and any movie that Julia
Roberts was in (except, like, the one she was in with Nick Nolte and that other
one where she dressed up like an old timey lady.) Basically, if you were
holding a stereo up over your head and playing tremendous 80s love songs, or
exchanging witty banter with your best guy friend who didn’t know he loved you
until you took off your glasses, you were speaking my love language.
However, as I got older I realized that those notions were
so 80s-slash-90s (and some 2000’s) and that love was more than just the stuff in
movies – it was about being able to have long, intellectual conversations about
life, and politics, and philosophy (just kidding, I’ve never had a conversation
about philosophy because OH MY GOD have we met?) It was about being so deep and completely insufferable. Or,
what’s more commonly known as “your twenties.”
So when CB and I met, I’d been through all of the puppy-dog,
swooning love stages that one goes through to reach the point in their adult
life where they can recognize a real connection when they see it. I mean, sure,
it took us five-plus years and a lot of back-and-forthing before acknowledging that
recognition, but whatever, we got there is the moral of the story, you guys.
But this past weekend, love was redefined yet again – except
the beauty of it this time around was that it was redefined with the same
person. I mean, thankfully, right? Otherwise, there are a few non-refundable
wedding deposits that would totally sting and also, I’d have to come up with
another code name for my new boyfriend and it’d just get all kinds of confusing
for you regular readers who don’t like change.
You see, as I eluded to in my last few posts, we’ve been
having some tough times with our cat, Oliver. He’s had a rough go of things
over the last few weeks, and if we’re being honest, I thought we were upon the
last of his last days.
|A proper superhero|
wears a bow tie.
I, of course, was the picture of stability, grace, and
constant steady emotions, true to form. I mean, stability, grace, and steady
emotions are emitted via hysterical crying, chapped noses from the tissue fort
you’ve built around yourself, and not sleeping or eating steadily for 5 days so
that the dark circles under your eyes are accentuated only by the new
cry-wrinkles that have appeared around your orbital sockets. Right?
But as I slowly declined into a cat-mom-and-nothing-else, CB
quickly grew into, well, the best of everything else. He’d sit next to me on the bed while I cried,
rubbing my back and knowing that words would be lost on me. He’d wake up
periodically to check on Ollie and find me on the couch trying to hand-feed him
anything he’d take, never judging or ridiculing, but instead, trying to come up
with a new way we could get him to eat. He’d go into the city, then back to New
Jersey, then into the city and back again for vet visits, never blinking at the
thousands of dollars we were dropping and reminding me that Oliver is more
important than, well, anything else. He’d crawl under our bed to where
Ollie had hidden himself so that he could spoon-feed him tuna or Gatorade or basically
whatever he would take during his hunger-strike.
And he’d even go so far as
to risk his own life and suggest that I should “maybe run a brush through your
hair?” before going back to the vet. Apparently, not showering for 36 hours and
crash-napping next to a feline for 20 minute stretches does not a trendy new hair-do make.
CB: “I mean, the front and sides look fine. I just know that
you can’t see the back of your head, so I just thought I’d mention it….”
Every day, without fail, we’d wake up and devote those hours
to keeping Ollie alive. Every day, without fail, CB was there when we needed to
make tough decisions, get good and bad news, and jump at a moment’s notice when
the situation changed yet again.
And every day, without fail, I’d look at him and realize
that this was the first time I understood the true meaning of partnership. And
also that I should probably brush my hair because he’s pretty handsome and
there are other non-cat-ladies out there who could totally appreciate him while
also not smelling like Friskies.
Basically, I finally understood that the Beyonce-themed
dinners and romantic proposal and surprise birthdays are inspired and fun and
whimsical, but that the real romance happens when the fan has been hit, when
the chips are down, and when the hair has gone unwashed so it stands up on its
own. Which, if I’m being honest, is a roll I think Julia Roberts would TOTALLY
nail, you guys. It’d be the rom-com of the summer.
So thank you for your comments and emails and text messages and
Facebook posts. The love was felt, absorbed, and redistributed to a little 12 year
old cat who, I'm happy to say, is no longer hiding under the bed.
Happy Wednesday, you guys! Thanks for waiting. Glad to be back. (and that will commence the sappiness. On Friday we will resume our regularly scheduled hilarity.)