The past few weeks have been eventful, certainly.
September 9th: My brother called and gave me a birth control lecture and advice. (That sounds weird until you know he’s a doctor in family medicine. Okay, maybe it’s still weird.) I’d been doing a ton of research as I don’t ever plan on having kids. I didn’t want to go back on the pill, and condoms are certainly inconvenient (not to mention expensive, and everything ends up in the landfill besides). He helped me make a decision, and after that I just wanted it done and over.
September 11th: B got tested. If there was anything to report, he’d hear on the 19th.
September 12th: My mother came to visit and met B. B stayed just for an hour. He legitimately had somewhere to go. So that was blessedly short and not too painful for anyone I think. It was extremely short notice, and I’m really impressed that B agreed to it at all.
September 14th-17th: Friday, I went over to B’s and we watched A Hard Day’s Night. My second Beatles movie. =) We went back to my place for the night because my neighborhood was having a yard sale in the morning, and I was actually participating. B helped me set up and brought us tea and met some neighbors. He had to leave that afternoon, but came back in the evening, with dinner. Sunday we took all the stuff that I didn’t sell around to all the appropriate places: bookstore, thrift store, music store. At the music store, I had enough credit for both of us to pick something out. I’m glad he found something he wanted after schlepping my stuff all over town. That night we made dinner and we both showered (separately, while the other one took over in the kitchen). B noted it was the first time he showered at my place.
After my shower I put on an old, flowy sundress that I only wear around the house, and opted not to wear underwear. We made out and I tried to show him where Piccadilly was again. At one point, we were touching each other simultaneously, but I was lying on the arm I was using, and the whole thing was pretty complicated. I did have inklings of arousal, and that made me hopeful. But this time, I was the one worrying about his hand getting tired, and I eventually said stop. He asked me about positions I like or that I’ve fantasized about, and I said, I literally don’t know. I mean, I’ve thought about positions before, but I had no idea how anything would go in reality.
Monday morning we made pancakes and B drove me to work. We parted agreeing to see each other on Friday. B made a noise like Friday was so far away, and I said, “It’s only Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday.” B added, “And you need your space.” I said, “Yes, don’t you?” I think four days together and three apart is a nice balance.
September 18th. Tuesday night, just after I’d gotten home from work, B called and asked if he could come over, like right then. There was a homebrewers meeting that night, so I figured he was in the neighborhood and wanted to stop by. When he arrived he was sweaty from bicycling, so we didn’t touch. We sat and he said, “I have to tell you something.” “What?” I asked, kind of like, “Ooh, what is it?” because it seemed like such a serious declaration. But the thing is, it was a serious declaration. B was obviously very nervous. What he had to tell me was that his mom didn’t live where I thought she did (many hours away), but instead lives less than an hour away. B was so apologetic and everything, all the little inconsistencies every time I mentioned his mom or hometown, came tumbling out. He asked if I was mad or if I wanted him to leave. I wasn’t mad–just confused. What a strange thing to mislead about. I asked why he felt like he had to tell me now and why he wasn’t just truthful about it in the beginning. He said he’d been trying to tell me for weeks. He expected me to be angry. I didn’t really know how to feel. It wasn’t that big a deal, just geography. Now that I knew about his mom, we talked about her a lot. I’d probably meet her soon. We joked about a reciprocal dinner, since he’d had dinner with my mom. When he left, we reaffirmed that we would see each other Friday.
September 19th: All the following day I thought about it, and as everything sank in, I felt confused and sad. I felt like all this time I’d been falling easily and happily in love, not realizing he was holding something back. He’d known he had a secret and he’d felt bad about it all this time. All our experiences were tempered for him. I just didn’t get it. Also, I knew that we were basically being cleared for sex that day because he wouldn’t be getting any positives back on the STI testing. Did he tell me Tuesday so that we could sleep together on Wednesday? The thought made me uncomfortable. I was also uncomfortable at the idea that he could keep something a secret for so long, all the while seeming so honestly affectionate. Doubts crept in. Such a movie plot point: Just as the couple is about to consummate their relationship, a dishonesty is revealed! Everything is thrown into question!
And so, as is my practice, I wrote all my thoughts and questions out in an email and sent it late Wednesday. I also sent a separate email about Friday plans, so he’d know I still wanted Friday plans.
September 20th: Thursday morning, I checked my email, not expecting a reply. B had an interview in a town over an hour away that day. But there was an email from B. He tried to explain everything. And I began to understand that the town where his mom lives is all wrapped up in his dad’s death. It’s where they moved to be close to B while he was in school because his dad was sick. It’s where B moved back to when he took care of his dying father. So when B names the town, the words carry all this emotional weight. He wrote more about his dad, and how he feels about possibly having the same condition. He wrote that this was making him cry and that every feeling he’d had for me was genuine.
Of course I believed him. Everything started to make sense. I wrote back to him letting him know that we’re okay. That I think about his dad every day, and that sometimes I think about B having to go through it again. But mostly that I try not to think about it because there’s nothing we can do. He replied to me following his interview, which didn’t go well because he was so distracted. He ended with “I love you.”
After reading the email, I was off to get Nex.planon put in my arm. It’s what I had decided on with my brother’s input. Good for three years and no estrogen. Even though I really didn’t like the idea of some human-made plastic thing left under my skin for years, I was much more comfortable with that than a much larger plastic thing stuck up in my uterus (IUD). I was required to give a urine sample for a pregnancy test, and I almost laughed and asked to skip that part. The procedure went pretty smoothly and my arm wasn’t too sore. I was a bit sad that this probably wouldn’t address all the premenstrual fun (breast tenderness and mild cramps for at least two weeks prior to starting my cycle), as that’s estrogen’s job. But some percentage of women don’t have periods at all with this. Let’s hope I’m one of those. Since I didn’t get it put in within the first five days of my cycle, I would have to use a backup contraceptive for seven days. After that, pregnancy-free sex for three years.
Then I went to work and after that straight to a neighborhood meeting. Home at 8:30pm. A busy and emotional day, to say the least.
September 21st. Friday, B came over. He’d emailed asking what I wanted to do Friday and listed some possibilities. I’d said surprise me. He asked about my arm right away (it was still wrapped). I’d mentioned that I was researching this and that it was a possibility, so he guessed what it was and mentioned bad timing. I assured him that we were fine, that I didn’t regret getting long-term contraception.
B surprised me with tickets to a local musical, and when it was over, we went back to his place as planned. I was on CD 22 and feeling pretty premenstrual-y, plus my arm was bruised and tender to the touch. Ah well. It felt good to have taken control of things, made the decision, and gone through with it. Unless my body was completely wacky, I was done ovulating, had this thing in my arm that was already releasing no-baby hormones, came prepared with condoms and lubricant, and had a disease/infection-free boyfriend. I was finally ready to give sex a try.