Jan 22:

I'm sick. I feel like someone blew up a balloon inside my nose and just left it there. I actually called in sick to work, which I almost never do because I'm such a diligent little worker bee, but I just feel so crappy.

Anyway, this is a quickie post because Jim is on his way over. Unfortunately, he can't come into my apartment (damn stairs), but he's taking me to his place so that he can pamper me. He made his housekeeper make me up some soup. This is going to be sweet.

I feel a little guilty exposing Jim to my cold, but then again, I think I've already done that. I still worry a little bit, because I figure in the category of people who are extra vulnerable to colds, like asthmatics or diabetics, quadriplegics are probably in there somewhere too. He even admitted to me that he had trouble breathing after his injury and he's got that scar on his neck from having a trach, which freaks me out a little. But Jim swears he never gets sick. Actually, I sort of believe him because I've been sick about three times since we were dating and he hasn't caught it once, despite excessive spit swapping.

Ah well, he's calling. If he gets my cold, it's his own damn fault. I'm off to be pampered!

Jan 24:

This morning I was feeling a little better, but still sick enough that Jim was able to talk me into calling in sick yet again. He, on the other hand, had to go in to work. He still hasn't caught my cold and he swears it's not going to happen.

I was walking around the apartment in one of Jim's shirts, which was nice and big and cozy on me, when I ran into Lucy, Jim's cleaning woman. I was really embarrassed to be in just a shirt, but Lucy gave me a bright hello and asked me if I'd like breakfast.

"Uh, you don't have to," I said. I feel kind of awkward having someone in my home who's cooking or cleaning for me. We never had that growing up. It makes me feel all bourgeoisie.

"It's no problem!" Lucy chirped. "Would you like some oatmeal?"

Oatmeal sounded incredibly good, so I agreed to let her make it for me while I got dressed. I guess Lucy cooks for Jim a lot, so it's not a big deal to her.

When I came out of the bedroom, having showered also, there was a nice hot bowl of oatmeal waiting for me. At that moment, I completely loved Lucy. I forgot everything I had been feeling in the way of jealousy and I wanted to give Lucy a great big kiss. Mmm... oatmeal.

I dug into the food while Lucy cleaned around me. Again, this made me feel a little awkward, but I was too hungry to care. Lucy was humming a little big and making little comments when she watered Jim's plants, like, "Oh, hello, Mr. Plant. How are you today?" I thought back to what Jim said about feeling much much older than she was and I could now see what he meant.

"By the way," Lucy said. At first I thought she was talking to a plant, then I realized she was talking to me. "I hope I'm not out of place saying this, but I just wanted to tell you that Jim seems so happy since you two have been dating."

I looked up from my oatmeal. "Yeah?"

"Oh yes!" Lucy nodded vigorously. "He's always in such a good mood these days. I've been working here for almost two years and I've never seen him so happy."

Two years. I did a quick mental calculation and realized that Lucy was implying that he was happier with me than he was with Molly. And presumably happier than after Molly dumped him.

"Jim is so sweet," Lucy said. "You guys make such a great couple." Her eyes lit up. "Hey, maybe you'll get married?"

"We'll see," I mumbled, not wanting to let on how much I'd thought about it.

"I told Jim he should propose to you," Lucy said. "I totally think he's going to. That would be awesome."

Lucy was making my head spin a little bit. Or maybe that was my cold. I finished my oatmeal and told her I was going to lie down again. But when I got to the bed, I kept thinking about how she said I was making Jim really happy and it made it hard for me to sleep. I want to make him happy. He deserves to be happy.

Jan 29:

After all Jim’s big talk about never getting sick, I just drove him to the doctor yesterday.

Actually, I’m being melodramatic. I drove him to the podiatrist for an appointment. He was having a little procedure and I talked him into letting me drive. It wasn’t a big deal or anything, but he apparently had an ingrown toenail that was a bit infected and he needed it pulled.

OK, that was gross. But it was gross in a good way, if that makes any sense. Like when an old woman wipes the drool off the face of her husband of fifty years. I’ve never been close enough to a man to get involved in his medical care in any way. I felt closer to him that he was including me in this, even though I actually think he would have preferred if I didn’t know about any of it.

Because we took my car, we didn’t have the advantage of handicapped parking, but the lot was not that full so it was fine. Jim looked totally calm during the drive, even though he was about to go through a painful procedure. Then again, he wasn’t going to be able to feel the painful procedure, so maybe that’s why he wasn’t nervous.

I didn’t go into the room with him. I’m not good around blood and gore and stuff like that. Hence the career as an actuary and not a cardiothoracic surgeon. He seemed kind of relieved that I didn’t want to go in, to be honest.

He was in the room maybe half an hour and came out minus one toenail and with a prescription for antibiotics. He looked slightly pale when he came out, but maybe that was my imagination. I have to admit, I was a little worried about him. He said it was just a minor infection, but what if the infection got out of hand? What if his whole body got infected and he died? Yes, that seemed unlikely, but not IMPOSSIBLE.

On the ride back, Jim’s leg kept jumping up and down. He told me that was a reaction to pain he can’t feel. I’ve seen his legs jump before and he just calls them “spasms” and apparently a lot of guys with spinal cord injury have them a lot worse than he does. He just gets them occasionally. It still seems really weird to me, like there’s no way his leg could possibly be moving like that on its own. The first time I saw it moving like that, I was convinced he must have been doing it on purpose. Maybe the whole wheelchair deal was a fake, ha ha.

The podiatrist gave him some bandages and told him to change them twice a day. I stayed over last night and offered to do it for him. “No, I don’t want you to do it,” he said.

“I don’t mind,” I said.

“No, you really don’t need to see my disgusting bloody toe,” he said.

“I’m sure when we’re married, I’ll see my share of bloody toes and worse,” I said.

Jim was staring at me and I just realized what I had said. I turned bright red. I mean, I know Jim had expressed his intentions to me, but I felt like I was being really presumptuous saying “when we’re married.” But actually, a second later Jim was grinning at me like I just told him he won the lottery.

“Maybe you’re right,” he said. “But for now, I’m still courting you. So no bloody toes.”

It just goes to show you that you can think you said the wrong thing when actually you said the exact right thing. Jim couldn’t stop kissing me after that and ended up eating me out and it was incredible, he was so into it. Then he changed the bandage on his toe by himself and it took him a freaking hour.

Jan 31:

You know what is awesome?

When Jim and I get married, my name will be Tessie Matchett. That is such a nice, normal name. I won’t have to repeat it five times and spell it ten times. It is actually a really nice name, I think. I can see why some women keep their maiden names, but I am definitely 100% changing my name. I’m sure Jim will be happy about that too, because he’s kind of a traditional guy.

Feb 5:

Next Saturday is Valentine's Day.

I know this is going to sound pathetic, but this is the first Valentine's Day when I've ever had a boyfriend. Or a date. I remember in high school, you could purchase a rose for your significant other and it would be delivered to their homeroom. Every time Valentine's Day came around, I'd hold out the stupid hope that maybe there'd be some guy who had a secret crush on me and would buy me a rose to finally declare his love. Then the day would come and of course, nobody bought me a rose, and I'd end up getting really depressed, looking at all the pretty girls in my homeroom with their roses.

By college, I knew better. I knew I was going to end up alone on Valentine's Day and no random guy was going to miraculously show up at my door and tell me he was in love with me. But I admit, there was still a teeny part of me that believed that something romantic would still happen.

As my twenties dwindled down, that optimistic part of me died. Last year, I spent Valentine's Day alone in my apartment, eating chocolate ice cream. I felt like this horrible cliché: fat ugly girl alone in her apartment on Valentine's Day pigging out on ice cream. But then, what else was I supposed to do? Hang myself? That would have been even more of a cliché.

Anyway, that's behind me. This year, Jim has something really romantic planned. I don't know what exactly, but I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm 99% sure he's planning to propose.

Here's my evidence:

1. He has been dropping hints nonstop about rings.

2. Everyone who knows him has been telling me they think he's going to propose soon.

3. We've been dating for about six months, which he said once was long enough to “know” about another person.

4. He's a sucker for romance and what more romantic day is there to propose than on Valentine's Day?

5. I’ve been dropping hints to him that I would say yes.

Jim was telling me he didn't want there to be a doubt in my mind when I said yes to him, and there honestly isn't right now. I love him so much. When I look at him, I think about how I want to watch his hair go gray and his face get lined with age. I want us to grow old together. I want to spend every Valentine's Day with him for the rest of my life.

Feb 8:

It’s over between me and Jim. I can’t talk about this now but this sucks so much. I can’t stop crying. Goddamn fucking Molly.

To be continued...