Coming back from South Carolina was tough. I mean, it was nice to be home and to read and go to the gym and start to get back into the familiar groove of a routine. But, finding that groove was tricky. First, we were recovering from our travels and Eric had a “sleeping day” to rest up after being a one man jungle gym for a week. Then, I was going back to work, but not really. We had a week of training that meant I was getting up at 5:30 instead of sleeping in and going to work at 10-ish. I was on a campus that wasn’t familiar to me and my work routine was different. Eric signed us up for a 10K, so we started running outside more, but then a cold snap with rain and the threat of snow kept us holed up inside.
After two weeks, I’m still trying to get back into a regular routine. Finally, Friday rolled around and I had the day off, and it seemed like things would start getting back to normal.
Then, Eric offered to take me to breakfast.
We both had the day off, which has actually been pretty rare in the five years we’ve been together. His sister and niece had given us a gift card to the world famous Kerby Lane, and he wanted to take me out. It sounds so sweet, except that one of the few serious fights that we’ve had came as the result of this exact same incredibly kind, incredibly wrong impulse.
I can’t remember why he took me to breakfast the last time. If we were celebrating or, like Friday, just happened to both have time for a slow, leisurely breakfast. What I do know is that Eric wouldn’t tell me where we were going, and it took us a while to get ready and actually leave the house. I have a window of time within which I like to eat. I wake up pretty hungry, and if I don’t eat within about 30 minutes, I’m starving and cranky. Plus, I hadn’t had any coffee yet. So, basically, I feel like a bear that just got woken up halfway through winter hibernation. I am cranky and I am hungry and I am tired.
And then, Eric pointed out that I was driving too slow.
When I say that the fight we had that morning was one of our few serious fights, I mean that when I suggested I would pull over and leave him on the side of the interstate and go back home to bed, it was not an idle threat. Yes, I was driving 45 mph on the interstate. But I didn’t know where we were going, I was hungry already, and I had had NO COFFEE. It was not the time to point out my faults.
When we got to our destination, Cracker Barrel, with their cheerful waitresses and cozy fire, I drank coffee and tried to remember that my Boo was taking me to breakfast. We were on a date. This was a sweet, impulsive gesture meant to be a treat and a chance to spend some quality time together. I ate a little food. I thanked him. Then, I made him promise to never do it again.
So, Friday morning, all I was thinking about was getting back to my regular routine. Drink coffee, eat a graham cracker covered in peanut butter. Journal. Write. Finish a draft of an essay. Read. I wanted the comfort of my usual rut. But, instead, I agreed to go to breakfast. Because sometimes part of being in a relationship, for me at least, is letting people do nice things for you. It’s about not fucking up the romantic gesture by saying, “I’d rather just eat some peanut butter and do a bunch of work in solitude.” It’s about saying yes.
It’s also about learning from my mistakes. We still had coffee before we left the house. And I ate half a sheet of graham cracker covered in peanut butter to take the edge off. Breakfast was both delicious and a really nice time. My routine and all the work I envisioned getting done over the weekend got pushed, so here I am on Monday trying to once again, start the week off the way I should. I’m starting early. I’m trying to be productive. Things have to get done. But that’s what Mondays are for.