Tom and I have been together for eight years. Out of those, we’ve maybe spent 3 Valentine’s Days together. Either we were in college in different cities or I was working in Chattanooga and he was busy working back home. This year is no exception. Tom goes to some type of convention in Kentucky every year with his farming buddies and the geniuses running the convention either:
a) forgot it was Valentine’s Day
b) figured all farmers were single because of their long work hours and had no reason to be home on Valentine’s Day. (my guess)
I was pretty much okay with this because I happen to love alone time and I’m not big on Valentine’s Day anyway, other than it’s a good excuse to take me shopping. He promised me we’d celebrate Monday night instead, with dinner and a trip to Target since their Prabal Gurung line launched that same day.
I didn’t want to go anywhere fancy and make a whole “LOOK AT ME; I’M IN LOVE” show of the whole thing, so I chose a very popular pizza restaurant that shall not be named because I’m scared they will put a hit out on me. They just so happen to have my #2 favorite food in the entire world, caprese salad. Although, if you ask them, they’ll deny they serve it. Anyway. There’s nothing I love more than tomatoes, mozzarella and basil paired with a white wine. When it arrived, I was so excited I took a photo with my phone. Please observe.
I remember thinking when I bit in to the first tomato that it had a weird consistency; almost like it had been frozen and then thawed. Sorta maybe like it had thawed for four hours in 95 degree heat in direct sunlight on the asphalt of the restaurant’s parking lot. Always, always, ALWAYS trust your instincts.
But it tasted good, so I ate the entire thing by myself, mocking Tom the entire time.
“I can’t believe you don’t eat things like this.”
“You’re missing out on some of the best parts of life.”
“There’s nothing more delectable than fresh ingredients like these.”
“You’re so uncultured. All you like is meat and potatoes.”
The waitress came and took my empty plate away and we talked about our day while we waited in anticipation for our pizza. I showed him some photos I took that morning and he talked about work and I talked about how I couldn’t wait to get to Target and see their new clothing line. He agreed with me, just being sweet.
And then I felt it. I started feeling a little bit short of breath. I took a sip of water thinking I might have gotten dehydrated.
That didn’t help at all. The water tasted bitter and I started feeling really sweaty. So I tried my wine. Mistake: I could barely swallow it. My heart started racing.
My mind flashed back to the weird consistency of the tomatoes.
“****,” I thought.
This just made me even more panicked. I knew what was happening. I knew what had caused it.
I was short of breath, my heart was pounding. I seriously considered ripping my jacket in a Hulk-like fashion just to get off my body. I felt lightheaded and dizzy. The noise of the restaurant was getting louder and louder. I felt like everyone was staring at me, even though they weren’t. I felt claustrophobic. My stomach felt uneasy. My knees felt like jello. I felt hot and then I felt cold.
“GIVE ME THE KEYS,” I shouted mid conversation.
Tom looked at me.
“I SAID GIVE ME THE DAMN KEYS RIGHT NOW. I DON’T FEEL GOOD.”
Like a puppy that had just been spanked, he hands over the keys with eyes as wide as saucers as I run outside leaving my purse, wallet, and any other belongings that I didn’t give a rat’s booty about at that point. Tom runs after me and hands me my phone before I make it outside.
Of course, it’s zero degrees and pouring rain once I get out. I didn’t give a rat’s booty about that either. Who cares about my MK watch, my iPhone, and my Banana Republic jacket? I sat down on the curb for a second before getting in the truck. At this point, I have tears running down my face because I feel sad that I ruined our Valentine’s Day dinner and even more sad because I’m extremely upset that there’s a good possibility that I might vomit in the parking lot of a crowded restaurant. I lie down in the back of the truck and get a text from Tom: “FOOD is here! Hurry back, babe!”
With which I respond: “Let’s go. NOW.”
And all of this:
Poor guy didn’t even get a bite of the pizza. He scurried to the truck, visibly dissapointed. Probably because he knew we weren’t going to make it to Target to see the new clothing line.
We did, however, make it next door to Walgreens, where my sweet Valentine bought me a Coke and a bottle of Emetrol. To me, at that point, there was no greater gift in the world. The Lord is good and I managed to make it home with no reappearance of the caprese salad. Sorry, y’all. I spent the rest of the night perched in 150 degree bathwater with the Emetrol bottle clutched between my feeble hands willing myself not to puke, while a very concerned beagle watched from the water’s edge. Tom sat in the living room eating the entire pizza by himself and watching reruns of Duck Dynasty.
Happy Valentine’s from this dysfunctional, caprese-salad hating, somehow still madly-in-love couple.
I even got feel better flowers 🙂