My boyfriend had dental work done today.
The morning leading up to the dental visit was miserable. After waking up crying at 4 AM because of an acute sinus headache, I dragged myself out of bed around 8 or so. My boyfriend was soundly sleeping at the time; he didn’t have to wake up at 6:45 for work and took full advantage of the extra hours of sleep. I threw a pork roast into the slow cooker with some seasoning and tried to carry on with my morning despite the searing pain behind my eyes. Around 10 AM, I was gently shaken awake by my boyfriend and given coffee, yogurt, and a 15-minute warning to get out the door. Apparently I had fallen asleep on the couch without realizing it. I had every intention of taking advantage of the early hours and writing, but my body thought otherwise.
The dental visit came and went. One hour and several hundred dollars later, we were both pretty miserable.
I had to pony up what little cash I had on hand to help him cover his pain medication and some soft foods for him to eat. When I say “I had to,” I mean I felt a moral obligation to do so. I try not to ask for anything. I make what little money I can and I make it work. But in the event that I do need something, he’s always there. After he had to spend an arm and leg on his dental work, the least I could do was take care of him.
When we got home, I let him curl up in a ball in the bedroom. We were both moody and in need of space, so we took it. I camped out in the living room, separating records and pricing them out. I tried nursing my headache to no avail. He changed the gauze in his mouth every 45 minutes or so. I cut up some potatoes and threw them in a pot. He fell asleep on and off. It was a quiet afternoon.
We vented. We cried. We talked about our financial frustrations. He talked about not being paid enough despite doing the work of three men. I cried about not being able to find a job. We scrambled to think of things we could sell just to have some kind of safety net. We came to no conclusions.
But we were able to laugh after. He started feeling better. My headache dissipated enough for me to be jovial. We poked and prodded at each other and giggled. He chased me around the apartment with tickle fingers. We slow danced to the sound of his computer humming. I fed him mashed potatoes and he pretended that they weren’t too salty. I touched up the magenta tint in my hair and he cleaned off his old desk so I could have a proper work area.
We were able to rebound from a day of shitty moods.
Here’s the good news: We are, for the most part, healthy. We both have some money left. We have food in the fridge. We have heat in the apartment. We have hot water (sometimes). We have electricity (most of the time). We love each other a lot (all of the time).
Your song of the night is “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman. Now, I’m not trying to assert that my boyfriend and I are as down-and-out as the couple in the song. For me, it comes down to these lines:
You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way
When I hear these words, I think that my boyfriend and I have two options: we either change our situations or we succumb to the feelings of being poor and not having anything to live for and we spend the rest of our days feeling it. Changing our situation is tough: there are a lot of unknowns. He has a renewed commitment to finding a new job and I’m going to send off my graduate school application in the next few weeks. I’m going to hit the job search harder than I have in recent weeks and he’s going to study for his certifications harder than he has in recent weeks.
We’re going to try and make it work, because it’s a better alternative to stagnation.