Many years ago, when Stephen and I were first dating. We liked to go out to Hof’s Hut for dinner.
It was just one of those silly stupid things you do when you are first dating: Go to “your” regular spot. Order “your” regular dish… and try on “being” a regular couple.
It had only been about a month, but we seemed to be doing a pretty good job of getting along and easily bonded over our shared love of Chicken Tortilla soup.
So one night, we followed our regular routine: soup at Hof’s… and then headed back to my house to lay on the bed and watch some mindless TV.
I don’t remember who fell asleep first… but I do remember who woke up first: that would be me.
I felt funny.
I felt woozy and sweaty… poo sick basically and so I quietly snuck off to the bathroom where in just a matter of seconds… I eliminated what I thought was my entire dinner and most likely also my meals from the previous day.
Like most people… for a moment… I felt relief and was sure that I was fine.
I washed my hands, splashed water on my face, and then headed back to bed.
It wasn’t more than a moment later that my stomach began to cramp and I knew that I was in trouble.
This time… there was no “walk” to the bathroom… I raced towards the toilet… just making it in time… where once again… I thought that everything exiting my body could not have been found even if I had chosen to do a HIGH colonic.
I put my elbows on my knees… I felt the room spin…. I was hot and irritated and upset that I was dating.
I was irrationally angry with Stephen who was sleeping peacefully in my bed.
I heard an Exorcist style voice from inside me hiss, “GET OUT!”
But there was no movement from the other room.
Stephen slept on… blissfully unaware of the horror that was taking place in the bathroom.
This time… I was unable to exit the toilet for a good fifteen minutes.
I knew then, that something we had just eaten had made me sick.
We had basically had exactly the same thing yet Stephen was fine.
It must of been the Ranch salad dressing, I thought to myself. He had the Honey Mustard. I seethed. “Fucker…” I whispered. “Fucking men.”
When I felt able to rise, I quietly crawled back into bed, weak and worn and hoped that I would be able to sleep.
“Are you okay?” I heard Stephen whisper from the other side of the bed.
I wanted to say, “No. Go home now. I’m sick and I don’t want you here to witness it.”
But we were new in our relationship and I was still trying to hide behind the facade of the perfect woman and so I said, “No I’m fine. I was just a bit sick to my stomach but I’m okay now.”
I would have to say… that amongst my many “famous last words” that these sit firmly at the top of my “wish I hadn’t said that” list.
I closed my eyes… and fell to sleep… thankful that I seemed to be stable after my incident.
I don’t know how much time passed… ten minutes… fifteen… but I had crossed over to the place in which you are definitely asleep but still… something in your brain… is awake and watching. Like… when you are observing your own dream or listening to someone rustling around in the kitchen late night… a quiet alarm really somewhere off in the distance… but still not yet in a place where you are “willing” to wake up and see what’s going on… and that… is when I needed to fart.
I could feel the urge to push and yes… somewhere… inside of my twilight… I thought… maybe it would be a bad idea… but I was too far gone… too far worn and groggy and so I pushed and immediately felt the warm rush of wet sludge fill the back of my panties as if filling a hot jelly doughnut.
My eyes opened wide… I moaned in embarrassment when I realized what had happened. I saw the stain on the bed and ran to the bathroom, hoping nothing more would escape my pants.
I barely made it to the toilet before I began vomiting.
Can you imagine?
Four weeks of dating…
Still in the limerance of the moment…
Never a burp or a fart or a misstep and now… on the floor… shit seeping out of my underwear…. my head halfway down the toilet… vomiting and crapping myself… sobbing uncontrollably between bursts of excrement and bile: the perfect picture of Aphrodite in all of her glory.
I heard a gasp and looked up to see Stephen standing at the bathroom door and that is when I completely lost it.
“GO AWAY!” I screamed. “DON’T LOOK AT ME!”
But look he did.
In fact, he even walked into the bathroom, grabbed a hair clip from the vanity and pulled my hair back.
My crying grew louder… so touched by his small act of kindness and so embarrassed that my current “love interest” was seeing me at my absolute worst.
“Please go home Stephen,” I cried. “Please… I swear I will be okay. I just need you to go home now.”
I felt him place his hand on the back of my head for a moment before he walked out of the bathroom and closed the door quietly behind him.
I cried hard against the rim of the toilet seat. My sobs echoing in the bowl before I once again lost all control and my body gave way at both ends.
I stayed there for sometime before my pain eased… and then I stepped into the shower: panties and shirt still on… to clean the excrement from my body and clothes, before stripping naked, drying off with a towel, and heading back to the bedroom to clean up the mess that I had left all over the sheets.
But when I opened the bathroom door, and walked to the bedroom… there was no mess.
There were fresh sheets on the bed… a large towel placed across the spot where I would be sleeping… a lined, clean trashcan by the side of the bed in case I got sick again in the night… and a good, good man waiting to see if I was okay.
“I couldn’t leave you,” Stephen said. “I wouldn’t have felt right about that.”
I can’t tell you how much this still touches me today: to be with someone who doesn’t leave… who doesn’t abandon someone at their worst.
I sobbed all over again knowing that this time… I was the lucky one.
Stephen helped me into bed where he held me close until I fell into a deep sleep that lasted into the early morning.
Of course… by then… Stephen was also shitting himself… vomiting uncontrollably… and writhing around on the bathroom floor in pain.
It was the soup… not the dressing: Our shared love of Chicken Tortilla had betrayed us.
But seriously… it was okay.
We spent 24 hours caring for each other living on Saltines and Gatorade.
We laughed… we cried… we crapped… we vomited… and we swore… and then… we shared a vow… a solemn vow… that we would never eat the Chicken Tortilla Soup at Hof’s Hut ever, ever, again… as long as we both shall live.