I am not a big fan of the winter Olympics; like a lot of people the only thing I ever worried about was the elaborately dressed ice skaters. Their short glitter-covered skirts billow around them while they make turn after turn. The obviously homosexual announcers calling out every flaw, “Oh, looks like she did not stick that landing, her toe slightly tilted to the left.” This is the only part of the Olympics that interested me at all; the cattiness is just too much to pass up. This particular evening I sat on my living room floor folding laundry while watching the skaters. A little girl from America won the gold and the entire nation became fascinated with her almost immediately. I on the other hand quickly yelled, “Holy shit! That girl has bulimia teeth and no one seems to care!” Her teeth were tiny and gray and very creepy to me. How can you spend thousands of dollars on ice skating lessons, hundreds on costumes, and not think, “Maybe I should get my teeth looked at”? I finished the laundry and went to bed, visions of bulimia dancing in my head.
The next morning proceeded as normal. I went to work, clocked in, and turned on my radio. I like words, and most mornings I spent my time listening to talk radio. The first show to come on was always Frank and John in the Morning. I had spent a lot of time listening to the two hosts banter and argue and it was even that show I was listening to when the planes crashed into the World Trade Centers. They were part of my routine, my daily life, but that day the show was a little different as John was out sick and Frank’s son was co-hosting. They talked about the normal things, and then the conversation turned to the book store that they owned, Books on Broadway it was called, and I thought “I need to check that out.” He said something about not being small in stature and I chuckled a little. The next round of conversation was the Olympics, and that’s when I heard, “I haven’t seen teeth like that since I saw that girl in a corner and a bent up spoon.”
The guy on the radio just called out the ice skater with “bulimia teeth” for having heroin teeth. It seemed obvious that I must stalk him and make him mine. I started to develop a plan of putting myself in the path of the book store guy who was not so small in stature. The plan was not well organized: I was going to the bookstore. If I was bold I would speak; if I wasn’t then it was a trip to a bookstore. The way I saw it I was a winner either way. I lived under the belief that one could never have enough books. I kept them on bookshelves, in the closet, piled on the desk and nightstand, and even in the bed with me. So I thought, what was the harm in visiting a bookstore and picking up just one more book?
The next day was cold and blustery; I wrapped a colorful scarf around my neck, summoned my courage, and pushed open the bookstore door. The bell above the door jingled as I stepped into the room full of books. The books filled the tall green shelves. They were broken down into different genres, all demanding to be read. The man from the radio sat on a comfortable looking couch with his legs crossed, a brightly colored shoe propped on his knee reading a book by Chuck Palanuik.
“Are you Trey?” I asked.
He replied, “Yeah.”
“You’re funny,” I asserted as casually as possible.
“Huh,” He replied.
I shopped around the store and tried to start a conversation with him. But he appeared to be unable to speak more than one word at a time. I bought a handful of books and thought, “Better luck next time.” I went back to the store and missed him the following week. I went back, yet again, the next week, and bought more books. If this continued, my children would surely starve to death. So upon my next return to the store I broke down and spilled my guts.
“Yeah, have you not picked up that I’ve been flirting with you?”
He looked slightly baffled, “Huh? You have?”
“Yeah, I have. Do you eat?” I asked.
“Do I look like I eat?” he quipped.
It took months for us to actually eat a meal together as our early relationship revolved around heavy breathing, fingers, mouths, and arguing. He is difficult and vastly entertaining. Our relationship evolved from late nights and coitus into late nights watching That Metal Show. “Mother Fucker has no idea what he is talking about,” he yells at the television. Now we cackle at Duck Dynasty and try to mimic their speech patterns. He and I once spent an entire winter covered up with afghans and drinking hot chocolate while watching Top 20 countdown shows. It is on record as the best winter of my life and the year we decided that the voice of God is Johnny Cash. Our fights always happen in the garage and we yell hateful things to each other. A short time later we mumble our apologizes and then laugh at the insults we hurled. No one can make me angrier faster and no one can make me laugh harder. He is loud, rude, and full of opinions, but he is also deeply kind and compassionate. It’s just a part that he doesn’t like to talk about. I ask him to tell me stories of his past and his friends; I listen intently and laugh at the same parts every single time. He is Carvell. He is Trey. He is Daddy. He makes me laugh, He makes me cry. He is my mate.
I am forever grateful to “bulimia teeth” and the winter Olympics.