A hickey, a buzz, chocolate and babysitting all in one night. Sounds like high school. But it was really my husband’s 37th birthday. And he wasn’t the one to give me the hickey.
Even though it was his special day, I decided to hand the toddler over to my husband so I could go for a run. I was shooting for 10 miles and am registered for a half-marathon in three weeks. My husband was supposed to be playing Ultimate Frisbee, but the sodden ground caused his tournament to be canceled. The following day was mother’s day, and, if history was any guide, I didn’t have much in the way of festivities (or a gift that wasn’t for the house, or probably even a card) to expect. I made my own priorities instead of waiting around to be disappointed. The incessant rain seemed to be taking a break Saturday afternoon, so I seized the opportunity for a run on the bike trail. Who wants to run 10 miles on the treadmill in the gym if there’s a spot of sun to chase?
When I got home, our son hadn’t yet napped, and it didn’t look like that was going to happen. I had agreed to babysit that night for a neighbor. If we were going to get out for a birthday dinner and back home by 7:30, we’d just have to keep the boy up and put him to bed earlier than his usual 8:30 (or 9:00, or 9:30). But while I lounged on the couch in a sweatshirt nursing him post-shower, pre-restaurant, my husband opened a note from the IRS that told him he’d forgotten to pay them what he owed them once he became an independent contractor. He was being issued a penalty. Livid, he went downstairs to search his records. I turned my attention to a volume of Best American Short Stories, and before I knew it, the boy’s eyes were closed.
After he’d stopped trying to feel me up, I knew he was truly asleep. But when we tried to wake him, he clamored for more, so I switched him to the other side to even myself out. He fell back asleep, but when I delatched him, he was so disoriented, he started sucking on the bottom half of my breast. He never loses his bearings; he always finds my nipple, but this time he was really out of it. I laughed and guided him back up to the source.
After we got him to wake up in a good mood, I went upstairs to change and gasped as I caught a glimpse in the mirror. The kid had given me a hickey. His mouth was stronger than I thought.
And so was the wine at the restaurant. I hadn’t had a full glass in a long time. Once home, I got ready for my babysitting gig with the biggest buzz I’ve had since I drank a whole bottle of Kombucha with dinner at Whole Foods another Saturday night.
And though I’d quit eating chocolate back in college because I thought it gave me a headache just like my mom (who also abstains), I recently started craving it and decided I wasn’t sensitive to it anymore. But I had a funny feeling that I couldn’t confess this retreat from purity to my mom. Before I headed to my babysitting gig, I ate a few bites of a Chocolove bar I’d bought myself (along with one for my husband, you know, for his birthday). I then walked myself and my laptop over to my neighbor’s house with not only a hidden hickey and a wine buzz but having indulged in a new vice. I felt pretty young and sneaky.
Within a few hours, what I felt was a little thirsty and tired, but I was still glad my husband was awake when I returned. It was nice to get some adult action on the couch for a change.
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