“I swear to god, if you don’t calm down,” he huffed, putting a gentle hand on my shoulder. The radio was blasting Big Sean (my choice, not his) and I was reaching new decibels in my own volume. We were reaching boiling points over trivial things. I took too long in the shower, accidentally leaving him with cold water. He left all the dishes without rinsing and a beautiful sticky layer of rice had now congealed, requiring extra scrubbing.
I was upset. He was upset that I was upset. Undoubtedly one of those “the honey moon is over” moments.
“I AM CALM!” I shouted (calmly). He turned the dial up, Big Sean echoing off the car walls.
Even at his most aggravated, there was still always a kindness in how he touched me, in how his words oozed out. He was the coating of honey and I was the black tar beneath. His attempts to calm me down, while futile, still retained an element of zen. He didn’t raise his voice, not even to match mine.
“We’re going to miss the previews. And if we miss the previews, what’s the point?!?” I shouted, mostly at the cars in front of us. This weird false idea that we all have at some point. Like the drivers in front will magically hear us and like Moses, the sea will part, letting us zoom right through. Sure! Yell at the traffic! That’ll help!
He let out a laugh and this only intensified my frustration.
“I’m serious!!! Previews are like, the bonus that you kind of didn’t pay for. The goddamn appetizer. And you know how much I like shrimp skewers,” my dramatics now paired with a tinge of humor. I knew I was being ridiculous, so might as well go full-force into the histrionics.
I wasn’t always as soft as he was. My voice hits high frequencies, sounds probably only dogs can hear. And I imagine a round table of dogs, maybe playing poker, all discussing how annoying the sound is. “Who is that girl? Why is she speaking so loudly? Someone please stick a muzzle on her.”
I was a bundle of anxiety. I jumped to worse case scenarios and calculated the likelihood of bad outcomes as if I were figuring out how much to tip. I did it simply, casually, like it was a normal thing to do. I still do it. But I’m learning balance. I think.
“You are beautiful and very loud,” He hummed, running two fingers up and down my arm. I laughed. I thought about how much I hated jelly as a kid. I still do. I would substitute PB&Js with H. Honey. Peanut butter and honey. And that’s exactly what he was.
Maybe I was the peanut butter. I had my days of smooth, when I came out of the jar perfectly. You could lather me evenly, no trouble. No mess.
And then there was my crunchy. When I was a series of bumps in the road and not the kind everyone enjoys. Maybe just the kind you make do with. You grit your teeth and chew.
But he was the honey, an overwhelming sweetness. I could dip him in my coffee or sandwiches, my heart, my throat when I was feeling hoarse. My PB&H. A combination that worked. We just worked.
“I think you are my honey.”