Sometimes, and always unexpectedly, I bring fits of laughter to my husband. I call him SweetBaby – at least I used to. In three days we’ll have been married 30 years. The pet names don’t flow as quickly as they used to. I need to get back to that. Besides, SweetBaby is a cool name, right? His sudden burst of laughter always leads to my own and so, this morning, unexpectedly, we found ourselves cracking up for a long time – while he was getting later and later for work.
I opened my eyes to – and this is an almost daily event – SweetBaby standing by his side of the bed, completely naked, waving his right hand like a little kid with a smile that takes up the whole bottom half of his face, as though he’d been standing there waiting for me to open my eyes. Always naked, always the naked jiggly parts doing their dance along with his frantic wave of inexplicable morning joy.
He knows this annoys me.
When I opened my eyes to this today, I had been jolted out of a dream about an ex-boyfriend – a guy I saw for a mercifully short time (another post for another time, maybe – agh, probably not). He was a normal black guy, nothing special about him. But in my dream he had bright, Kool-Aid-red hair. That was weird. I had dated him when I first moved to where I live now – in the suburbs of a new city in a new state – having moved from the suburbs of Upstate New York where I was born and raised. He lived in the city. I do not like cities. I do not like cities A LOT. Too many people, too many cars, too many shootings. The only thing I want to live around too many of is squirrels and trees and birds. I’m so glad so many people love cities because someone has to live in them and they ensure it doesn’t have to be me.
Anyway, I told SweetBaby about the could-have-been-fatal mistake I made while visiting Kool-Aid-Red in his family home. I was a lot younger than I am now and no one could ever have accused me of being savvy or keen to my surroundings. (Don’t worry, I’ve learned.) So while I’m visiting, outside there are gunshots. GUNSHOTS. (!!!!) Everyone runs outside – and by everyone I mean everyone in his house and everyone on the block and the next block and probably the next block too. All the expected sounds are present: chatter, accusations, laughter (well, that was a little unexpected). While we’re standing there a cop walks up to us and asks, “Anybody see anything?” Everybody shakes their heads no – except for me. No, I enthusiastically offer up, “No, but it sounded like it came from up that way!” and I pointed with my entire body – like a good little Girl Scout – up the street to the next block.
I told SweetBaby I heard the entire neighborhood gasp in horror. This sent my husband into a bent-over seizure of laughter that he kept up for about 10 minutes. He kept trying to get dressed but would grab his face and fall over again. He punctuated these outbursts with vivid depictions of an entire neighborhood frozen in bent-legged, splayed-arm, stony-faced terror, with the necessary audible GASP, and would end each one by shaking his head and saying, “Oh man, you are so funny.”
We cracked up together for a LONG time before he finally left. On his way out he said, “Thank you. I needed that today.”
Whatever sends him off happy. Thirty years ago it would have been a different thing.
Side note – while I was proofing this post, this happened: