I never thought that sitting at home binge eating Entenmann’s Chocolate Frosted Donuts while binge watching the entire series of The Great British Baking show for the third time was going to be stressful, but it is. I can’t focus on either. My mind is clogged with doomsday scenarios, bills that need to be paid, and when I can go back to work to make the money to pay them.
Today, however, my thoughts turned to my Coronavirus quarantine buddy, my husband. It’s not just that his mere presence is beginning to annoy me; I’m also frustrated because he can’t help out financially during this horrible pandemic. Silly me, I chose love, over money.
I would never admit this out loud, but if he falls ill and passes on, I’ve decided I’m marrying rich next time. An article on MarketWatch.com says that 56% of Americans say they want a partner who provides financial security more than “head over heels” love.
Of course I don’t want my husband to die, but is it so horrible to imagine, for just a second, how much more tolerable quarantine would be in that house in the Hamptons I’ve always wanted but could never afford, instead of this pre-war shoebox with its original moldings falling off the walls.
While I mentally enjoy the spoils that would come with a new rich husband and our apartment, in an elevator/doorman building, I can hear my grandmother’s old-world Irish superstitions flood into my head:
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, you better find a piece of wood to knock on so you don’t temp fate.”
I stare at my current, healthy, not rich husband, asleep and snoring next to me on the sofa. Wracked with guilt I half-heartedly reach behind me, softly tapping three times on the wooden trim of the window. Not a knock per se – don’t want to wake him.
My husband, Michael and I are your typical bears-next-door. We live in Chelsea with our dog Bruno, both in our 50s, and I’m happy to report that after 14 years together, are still very much in love.
He was a crush, someone I had seen at the gym and coveted for years before he finally noticed me. It took two rounds of steroids, twenty-five pounds of muscle, a shaved head, and a septum piercing to turn his head, but once he did I felt like I was the recipient of a Make-A-Wish campaign.
Michael has been a massage therapist for the past twenty years, a healer really, with a loyal clientele. He’s promotes calm, peace, and good energy. But let’s be honest, being a healer doesn’t pay a lot. Yes, he’s busy with clients, but what does that mean, ten, or at the most, twelve hours a week? I’d kill to work from home in a T-shirt and gym shorts for twelve hours a week listening to “Rainstorm on the Prairie” or Asian inspired spa music and saying things like, “Let’s try to release all of tension on your right side, is that your mouse hand?” Or “Proper posture is key to a healthy life.”
I edit reality TV for a living. Mostly for Bravo and VH1, quality-programming people love to fold laundry to or run on the treadmill and watch. There is nothing but tension and drama going on at my job. And if it’s not in the footage, it’s up to me to create it. I can’t go into specifics but please know I can manipulate the audience to believe anything with the perfect track of dramatic music and a well-placed “Boom” as someone turns their head. I work 50 to 70 hours a week with people who are just as stressed out as me; it’s not the most healing environment.
My salary is the one that carries us. My salary pays the rent, the utilities and saves for retirement. So as we both sit here in quarantine, neither of us working, I’m second guessing that decision I made 14 years ago, turning down that rich guy, David, that I had gone on a few dates with before I met Michael. His company made high-end custom draperies. He was loaded, and he was devastated when I told him Michael and I were going to become exclusive.
I can’t even go on Facebook or Instagram to distract myself. I find myself mired in envy when I see these jobless, stay-at-home gays who were smarter than I was quarantining with their doctor, lawyer, or Wall Street husband at their Hamptons cottage. Screw you! While you and your meal ticket discuss the tragedy of not being able to host the annual Memorial Day barbeque this year, I’m trying to calculate just how many months I can pay for Cobra while living off of an IRA, which is driving my target retirement date as far away as the sun.
While these gays luxuriate out east, ‘The Healer’ and I are stuck here in our tight 575 sq ft, 5th floor walk up. Over 400 lbs of Muscle and fur between us, we are forced to walk sideways to pass each other no matter what room we’re in together. I live for those beautiful words:
“Should I walk the dog?”
“Yes, for the love of God walk the dog. And put your Mask on.”
I slam the lid down on my laptop in disgust. I see Bruno and Michael sleeping peacefully next to me on the sofa and I smile. Maybe those queens on social media who married well aren’t as happy as Michael and I? Maybe they’re sitting on separate pieces of furniture right now in front of a fire and French doors looking out to the garden wishing they were in quarantine with someone else.
As I sit here with my beautiful prize husband, I realize how blessed I am. He loves me; we are healthy and have enough money to survive. Life is good.
The last paragraph in the MarketWatch article says:
Marrying for love is the only good reason to marry. When life gets tough — and it always does — it’s the love that will sustain you, not the cash.
I look down at Michael’s face, reach back and knock three times on that window frame so hard that it wakes him. He jumps at the noise. Through heavy eyelids he looks at me and mumbles:
“I love you.”
Suddenly I’m luckiest guy in the world.
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