We don’t get out much. Jude wants visual on us at all times. I am not even really allowed to wear my shoes around him, because he knows I almost never wear shoes unless I am leaving the house. Same goes with lipstick and perfume. He knows.
We have a nurse, though, someone to make sure he has his meds and doesn’t mess with his feeding tube or try to get up and walk over to the dresser to find his pajamas with the Angry Birds motif and fall and then we are in the ER. No one wants that. Also, we have Asa.
Asa is my friend’s son, and I used to watch him and change his diapers and haul him around in a wagon and stuff. Now he is grown and rides a motorcycle. He is our “respite care worker”, in other words, the state pays him to watch my kids so they don’t have to house me in the psych ward from too much stress. He is perfect for Jude because he finds Jude hilarious, which is the key to dealing with Jude Hills. He’s also good with Eden, who adores him. And the dog. Sage, not so much.
Once Asa picked Sage up at a Halloween party wayyy out in the suburbs dressed as a weird old man (because it was, after all, Halloween, and Asa is just, well, like that.) He sort of resembled a down and out Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers. Yeah, it was disturbing to say the least. Asa rang the doorbell of Sage’s girlfriend’s house, and said, “Ahm here to pick up that youngun…” They very politely invited him in. Sage comes downstairs…”Time to go home, whippersnapper!” Sage just stares at Asa in abject horror.
The drive home was spent listening to Asa ranting about old guy stuff. “We don’t TALK about the war. Y’hear?” “Kids nowadays, they GOT no respect.” For forty minutes. Sage says Asa never broke character once.”Mom, why is he so abnormal? Why are you friends with him?” You just answered your own question, Sage.
Asa arrives and Jude is already dozing with Linda the nurse sitting near him. I am putting on mascara and trying to turn my giant topiary of dreadlocked hair into something that doesn’t look like it will attack without warning. I spray a bit of perfume on my wrist. I hear from the other room, “MAMA’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE!” Crap. He smells our fear.
When we leave Asa is watching cartoons with Eden and promising like, fifty times to call if there is a problem. I ask Asa if he’ll take me for a ride on his new chopper. “No.”
“Oh, I get it, no middle aged fat chicks.”
So we leave, with a goal to get me a new nose ring and relax and talk and eat food without interruption. This is a good goal.
We kiss in the car for a minute, and head over to Wicker Park where there is a new piercing place. There is no parking, so Don lets me out while he circles. The place is swanky and the girl is nice, and she has a plan for the stretched out hole in my nose and the fact that I have teeny tiny nostrils and my nose ring keeps hitting my septum, causing nosebleeds and general malaise. She takes me back into the piercing room, which looks like a gynecologist’s exam room, and I know why that is, and I do not want to think about it.
Just then Don comes in and starts telling me how nice my new nose ring looks. “It hasn’t CHANGED yet, dummy!” Piercer thinks this is hilarious. “See what I have to deal with?” She puts in a tiny little stud that doesn’t sink in and looks super pretty and is flat on the back. It’s a piercing miracle, really, and I give her a hug. We are off to find vegetarian food.
We head over to Kopi’s, which we have been going to since we were dating. I remember our first date there, how on the table were decopoged art pics and naked statues of guys. Seeing as we were doing the whole chaste church dating thing I put the salt and pepper shakers over the statues’ naughty bits when Don wasn’t looking. When he turned around it looked like the statues had giant salt and pepper penises. We laughed and laughed and now whenever we go in there we adorn the statue manhood before we order.
We get yummy food and good coffee and just sit, talking and eating. We are still the same two awkward young twenty somethings, all hopeful that this will work out and we’ll be happy. Same damn thing twenty or so years later. We just want to be together, and for things to be okay. Nothing really changes all that much.
Afterwards we head over to Jewel so I can pick up a couple of things before we head home. We get a text from Asa that Jude is demanding a. our presence immediately and b. french fries. So we try to hurry but I just don’t want this time to end. We are in the personal products aisle, because I need stuff that you don’t want to know about. I pick up a bag of maxi pads, the really big kind, and yell, “GO LONG” to Don, who just looks at me with that long-suffering look. I throw them hard, like my daddy taught me to do with a football, and hit him so hard in the chest he almost goes down. He is clutching his chest and taking a deep breath and I can see the store security an aisle down giving us the eye.
“I told you to go long..”
We drive home and park behind the house. We sit there a bit, not wanting to go back in. We kiss a little and listen to NPR. We really are the same two wishing kids. Really we are.
When we get home Asa and Sage are watching TV, having reached a truce for the moment. “FRENCH FRIES” Jude yells from his room. I go in there with the french fries and he tells me to take my shoes off and sit on my laptop, which means, get your computer and have a seat honey, you’re here for the duration.
Don peeks in the doorway and blows me a kiss. Date night was pretty good, even if Don sucks at feminine hygiene sports.