If I fall…will you let me down easy?

I dunno, guys. This love stuff…I mean, romantic love? It’s…man…it’s intense. These past few weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions. I’m trying to cope, trying to hang, but my heart’s just…yeah.

This is nuts.

Where do I start?

So, Mason went to his sister’s house out in his hometown for Easter. They had a fight, and he drove all the way back to my town, returning somewhere around three in the morning. He told me that he came back into town but that he and his sister had a huge argument that put him in a really bad mood, so if I didn’t mind, he’d rather spend a night on his own to calm down and cool off his temper.

Alright, I can totally understand that.

Somewhere around eleven in the morning that Monday, I was at work and Mason sent me a text. Told me that he hadn’t slept all night because he was still angry, and that he was buzzed up and horny. I told him that I was sorry to hear that his sister pissed him off so badly. He just said ‘thanks’.

That’s the last I heard from him that day. I didn’t pester him with texts, but I did send him just one good-night text. He didn’t text good-night back to me. That kinda stung, but, I knew he was really upset, so of course I wasn’t about to harass the poor guy over a good night text. Ya know?

Tuesday rolled around. Somewhere around noon I finally heard from Mason again. He told me that he’d been up all night again, that he couldn’t sleep because his ulcer was acting up and he felt really sick. I asked him if he wanted to go get checked out, and he said no, and that he was just going to lay low in his hotel room and hope that his stomach settles down.

That night I asked Mason if he wanted me to bring him anything. He finally asked me for Gatorade and Pepto and a couple of other tummy-friendly things. I went and saw him – the guy was a total mess. Flush-faced. Sweating. Shaking. Clearly not feeling well at all. I looked around the hotel room: there were four empty six-packs of IPA in there. Another 24 beers in two days?

I asked him if he drank all that beer in two days. He immediately told me to not lecture him about it, please. So, I didn’t. But I did say that drinking excessively is the fastest way to cause an ulcer to act up. Mason just nodded. Then he stumbled a little, told me he was feeling dizzy, and ran to the bathroom to puke.

I noticed that when I walked into the room, the room itself felt stuffy. Mason had the window open but normally we put the fan on as well to bring the room temp down to a cool 65 degrees. I looked at the shitty little thermostat on the wall. It read 74 degrees. I waited until Mason came out of the bathroom. He told me that his glasses had fallen into the toilet. Erm…yeah. Poor guy. That’s rough.

So I walked up behind him and took his glasses from him, cleaned them up, dried them off, made sure there weren’t any finger prints or fuzz on the lenses. I took a damp wash cloth and wiped his face. He peered at me with those gorgeous sapphire blue eyes all watery and bloodshot. He still had a case of the shakes. I figured he was dehydrated. I very, very gently put his glasses back on his face. He heaved a heavy sigh and whispered a thank-you. I walked him back to his bed, and when he stretched out he mumbled about how damn hot the room was. I offered to cool it down for him. He told me that he couldn’t get the stupid thermostat to behave. So I walked over to the thermostat and fussed with it, and within a few seconds the fan kicked on.

I laid there in bed with Mason. We watched a marathon of ‘Wicked Tuna’ on TV, not saying a whole lot. He kept getting up to be sick, but he was able to keep a little water and even some watered-down Gatorade down. The water, sugar and electrolites helped ease the shakes a little, but the poor guy was seriously sick for three days. Three days, folks. That night I slept in the room with Mason, but there were two beds and he kept sleeping in a separate bed. Said that he did that because he kept having to get up to run to the bathroom and he didn’t wanna wake me. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was so worried about him that I woke up every time he got up, anyway.

Tuesday night was a long night.

On Wednesday, Mason wasn’t feeling any better. I called off sick from work, because I was quite honestly that worried about him. Told him that if he didn’t improve by that night, we were going to get him checked out at the local Urgent Care. He grumbled and argued, but then, around nine am, he showered and crawled into bed with me. I rubbed his back, and he fell deeply asleep. Mason usually only sleeps for three or four hours in a stretch. This time he slept for six hours, got up, stumbled to the bathroom, flopped right back down next to me and fell asleep for another six hours. Twelve hours of snoring from that man.

He woke up around nine pm. I’d been napping next to him during the day, but I was awake when he woke up. He apologized for sleeping all day. I told him that I was really, really, really happy to see him finally get some sleep after being awake for nearly three days. I asked him how he was feeling. He said his stomach was still torn up, but not as badly as it was. He was able to hold down a little more Gatorade and a couple of crackers. We watched tv, and he fell asleep around eleven pm again. I fell asleep deeply, and didn’t wake up until my alarm went off at five-thirty on Wednesday morning.

I had to go to work that Thursday. But, Mason was looking better that morning…not quite as shaky, still flush-faced but not sweating as much. He told me he felt exhausted, so I told him I’d stop by after work that day and see how he was feeling.

Thursday night I did stop by the hotel room. Mason hadn’t left that room in four days. He finally left so that the maids could bring him fresh bedding and towels. We went to the laundry mat so that he could wash his clothes, he’d been sweating out whatever had him feeling sick so his laundry desperately needed to be done.

I wanted to tell Mason that I was seriously worried about his drinking. But I was scared. Scared that he’d push me away. Scared that he wouldn’t slow down the drinking. That thought scared me for him, but it also scared me because I knew that if Mason didn’t slow down on his drinking, I’d have to walk away. I can’t handle someone who drinks until they’re physically ill. Someone who gets black-out drunk on a regular basis. My heart was aching in my chest as we sat there in that laundry mat, making small talk.

Finally, Mason told me that he was going to stop drinking for a while. Take a break for at least a week, then slow way down if he did go back to having one or two beers on the weekends. The relief that I felt was immeasurable. I let out a breath and blurted out that I was really scared and didn’t know how to tell him how scared I was. He put his big, heavy arms around me and held me close, buried his face in my hair and sighed. He kissed my temple. He thanked me for taking care of him. And, he apologized for scaring me.

He spent the rest of the weekend here in town. We were so close to each other, all weekend long – instead of going to the bars, we went on long drives along back roads. We ate at little hole-in-the-wall, mom and pop places. We had awesome sex in the back of his truck. We hung out in the hotel room and watched tv and sang along to music playing from our phones. We cuddled a lot. For hours and hours we’d just hold each other and talk.

That Sunday, we did go to our favorite sports bar. Neither one of us had a drink, though – I had iced tea and Mason just had water. We ate, and chatted with our favorite bar tender. I got up to use the bathroom, and when I came back Mason didn’t see me walking up behind him. He was leaned in, chatting with Matt the bartender. I heard him say,

“She’s awesome, man. She really is. Been taking care of me all week. I think I love her.”

The whole world went still.

I drew in a breath.

He loves me?

That’s when Matt saw me standing behind Mason. Mason turned around – his eyes were wide with surprise. I looked at Matt. Matt gave me a warm smile. I very cooly snuck in next to Mason, sat down and kissed his cheek.

I didn’t say a word about what I’d heard. Mason didn’t bring it up, either. I’ll leave him to do that on his own, when he’s ready.

That following Monday, Mason had to go back to his hometown. He has been there ever since, wrapping things up with some side work, dealing with other obligations. He didn’t come around to town last weekend. I knew that he wasn’t going to, he really wanted to earn some extra money to put down on an apartment that he’s very close to moving in to. For the first eight days or so, I was okay. I missed Mason, very much, but…I dunno, guys. Yesterday I started to feel an ache in my chest. I had to force myself to not touch my phone very often so that I didn’t keep flooding Mason with messages.

Yesterday, somewhere around ten pm, Mason sent me a text that read: Hey Sugar, I’m home, just laying here, thinking of you. You should be here in my arms. I’m lost without you. Been feeling that way for weeks now. I miss my snuggle buddy. Miss the way I sleep so good when I have you to spoon up to.

…(sigh).

I miss that man so very much. He’ll be back in town on Friday afternoon. I’m taking a half-day off because I can afford to, and I’m having a light week at the workplace so I can get away with cutting out at lunch on Friday. I’ll meet up with Mason at this little greasy spoon that we found that makes the best chocolate milkshakes I’ve ever tasted – we’ll have lunch there, and I think we’re going to take a drive to the beach. Saturday we’re going to go to an apartment complex that he’s very close to moving in to and bring them his proof of renters insurance. Sunday we’ll just watch sports and have brunch at another little place that we discovered the last time Mason was here in town.

All I want is to spend the whole weekend holding him as much as possible.

I think I love him, too.

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