Hard To Swallow

Sometimes my boyfriend annoys me. He comes home from work all irritated. And I know he works hard – he does landscaping, works all day in the southern sun with an older guy named Bryan. Bryan eats at his nerves. Like I said he’s an older guy and we’re in the South. I want you to think of a stereotypical white male who owns a fishing boat and a lawn care company. They spend all day with each other. Bryan deflects his irritation on H-. H- says that on the worst days, Bryan reflects himself. What we don’t like in others is what we don’t like in ourself.

And H- is a hard pill to swallow, too. Trust me, I know. I live and am in love with the guy. His very existence challenges your own. He can’t help it, its in his nature. He’s an instigator. His middle name is Gator, I will tell you that. His dad was in the miltiary and his war friends all names their kids something. There’s one with the name “Stump” out there.

H- is vegetarian, he’s also a practicing Hare Krishna, which is a whole other post on its own. I remember when we were first talking we were down on River Street where the Savannah River rips through Georgia and South Carolina, separating it. River Street was the old port back then, now its a tourist trap with bars and restaurants and gift stores. The imported cobblestones remain, now unsteady high heels waver on what’s left.

We were sitting off beside a dock beside a Parking lot before comedy open mic (I consequently went on hiatus from those when we started dating. Typical, you may think, but it’s complicated. Another post some other time perhaps).

I was smoking a cigarette nervously before a set. We were talking. I threw the butt in the river and he reprimanded me. “Why’d you litter like that? A fish could swallow it now.”

We started arguing about awareness and eventually recarination (a subject I was NOT ready to discuss back then. Once again, another post.) I got so upset with him. Why was he so difficult?  We argued all night, unable to let go, long after others would have given up and let go. We kept arguing, by the river, in the alleyway, in the square on a bench.

We argued until we had nothing left to say, nothing left to feel except for relief. So we embraced.

He annoyed me then. He annoys me now. That hasn’t changed. What hasnt changed either is that we can talk. We can argue. We can let it all out rather than keep the poison in.Even if we yell (which we have / are learning not to), we quiet down, we listen, we learn… and that’s, after all, how you learn to love. Annoyances and all.


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