Most Sundays, I wake up on the right side of Bryan’s bed. My lover has crossed the border of what I consider “my side”, and smooshed me against the wall. I don’t mind, though – I need to go to the bathroom.
Once I’ve shimmied my way to the foot of the bed, I begin looking for my clothes. Not because they’ve been stripped off in a fit of passion the night before, but because Bryan’s is the only bed where I am comfortable enough to sleep au naturale.
Before I come back to bed, I’ll unscrew the toothpaste cap, place it on the sink, and brush my teeth, even if I intend to return to sleep. I won’t place the cap back on. Several brushes ago, I heard my love’s laugh from down the hall, “Damn it, Panda – put the cap back on the toothpaste.” I leave it here so he can laugh again.
I close the door, locking it behind me if I’m feeling frisky, leaving it unlocked if I’m feeling sleepy. Most Sundays, I am pretty sleepy.
He can be found on his side, facing the fan that regulates his body temperature. He will tell you I’m the warm one, but this isn’t true. I slide my left arm beneath his pillow, and wrap my right around his, squeezing the plush cheeseburger I bought him two Christmases ago. He loves it almost as much as he loves regular cheeseburgers.
When I wake, I can find him at the computer checking on e-mails and reading about virtual worlds. He says his laundry is almost ready. I don’t mind – I’ve never met a man who could fold a shirt.
My lover and I do not share a home. We have no walls to cover in our memories, no matching coffee mugs, no agreed-upon linens. He tells me I’m not the one holding us back, but my credit card debt, my course load, my nightmares beg to differ.
Each Sunday, I pack the clothes from the day before into a bag, and let him drive me home. As we make our way from the Wantagh to the Northern, his hand sneaks across the shifter and finds mine, “Give me your handa, Panda.”
We take the Searingtown Road exit, and he scoffs because the same mansion has still not taken its Christmas lights down. We promise we’ll take our lights down within a reasonable amount of time. We vow never to live in a community where our lawn has to be X-number of inches high. Someday, we say…someday.
It is a little after 11:00am when we come to a halt on George Street. He opens my door and we walk to the corner and make a right on Plandome.
The guys behind the counter have our slices in before we get to the counter – two regular, one barbecue. I place a Diet Coke and a Diet Dr. Pepper on the corner table, the same one we sat in almost seven years ago before he was Muffin and I was Panda.
He tells me to let it cool, that I’m going to burn my mouth, that he told me not to. I can never wait – I am hungry, and they have the best slice.
When I take a sip of my Diet Coke, his hand takes my half-eaten slice, and a smile forms across his face, “This looks suspect. I better test it for poison…”
“But I’ve already eaten it!” I whine.
“You can’t be too careful, Panda,” he observes, with a full mouth. “Mmm, nope. All good here.”
If it’s hot out, we split a lemon ice, although I know he’s more of a vanilla chip kind of guy. Sometimes I offer to go vanilla chip, but he always says lemon is fine. I don’t know if this indicates who wears the pants; I don’t know if people think he spoils me. All I know is that if we can share germs, we can share anything.