Saturday evening, as we were lying in the big bedroom enjoying the summer breeze drifting in through the windows, Corb turned to me and asked, "What do you want to do tonight?"
"I'm not sure, but we have to do something," I replied, affectionately squeezing his side. "Today's my last day of vacation before I have to go back to work."
Corb shook his head. "What are you talking about? Tomorrow's Sunday, so you still have another--"
"Shhhh!" I said, placing finger to lips. "I'm trying to convince myself that today's my last day. That way, when I wake up tomorrow morning, I'll have a pleasant surprise!"
Owing to the time, we went to the movies first, and saved our appetite for a restaurant afterwards.
Well, except for popcorn. Of course, we had to get a jumbo size of popcorn to split between the two of us during the movie. That's mandatory. And I didn't say a word when Corb asked for butter, even though I prefer my popcorn unbuttered and salty as hell.
I received a reminder of our shared popcorn when we arrived at the restaurant. Corb drove to a rib place that we had eaten at once, but haven't visited in well over a year--the Memphis Roadhouse in South Attleboro. It has the look and feel of a restaurant much further south than New England. The ribs are great.
After we were seated, Corb excused himself to go to bathroom. Then, after we ordered, I excused myself to hit the boy's room.
When I returned, I had a big smile on my face. "Guess what?" I asked, when I sat back down. "I went into the bathroom, locked the door, and unzippered my pants, and guess what I saw when I looked down into the urinal?"
"Well, I can think of one thing, right off the bat--"
"A little reminder of you. There, in the water, was a popcorn kernel. Submerged, at the bottom."
"And let me tell you, that one really hurt, coming out, too," said Corb.
I laughed. "It must have fallen off your shirt. Anyway, it could have been worse. You could have dropped a false tooth, or something."
"So, what are you getting?" Corb asked.
"The dry ribs," I replied.
"What the hell are dry ribs?" he asked.
"They're dry-rubbed with a special spice blend, and finished without barbecue sauce," I said, checking the menu.
"I didn't like the movie very much," said Corb, changing the subject. "I was kind of bored during a lot of it. I didn't think it was good as The 40-Year-Old Virgin at all."
"I don't know, it got pretty good reviews," I said. "But it definitely wasn't as funny. I didn't like how they'd get in a situation, and then start trying to point out how funny it was. Like when the sister thinks her husband's cheating on him, and they sneak over to house, and discover he's only playing Fantasy football--"
"Which I hated," said Corb. "That was such a stupid ending to that."
"And then they're all like, 'Isn't it funny, we thought he was cheating, but he was only playing Fantasy football!' I mean, when you need to spell out to your audience that something’s supposed to be funny, it's probably not that funny. They did that a couple of times, actually."
"It was long," said Corb.
"Well, they have to go through nine months..."
"But I loved the sister," said Corb. "She was great. I loved her as the drunk girl in 40-Year-Old Virgin , too."
"I just didn't think the characters were very well defined," I said. "They all had a back story in 'Virgin,' so you could relate. And I can't imagine why the main character would go to bed with Seth Rogen, even if she were drunk. But I liked some of it, Corb. Especially the end. I don't know...maybe you just couldn't relate to the subject matter?"
"When the baby was having difficulties, it reminded me of how tough Josie had it with Theo," I said. Theo's umbilical cord prolapsed, and Josie was rushed in for an emergency C-section. It was one of the scariest nights of my life. Even just being reminded of it, I found myself tearing up during the movie. "Well, look on the bright side. It could have been Sidewayzzzz !"
Our waiter, a handsome kid with smoldering Latino looks, stopped by the table. "Is everything okay?" he asked.
"Fine, fine," we said. He left, and I crouched forward, to whisper to Corb. "I swear to God that guy was one of Josie's love slaves."
"Really?" he asked.
"Yes. His name was Al," I said. "She would visit him at night, right before we separated. He was hung like a horse! And one time he cooked a sausage for Josie, naked."
I checked the bill before we left. This guy's name was Gabe, not Al.
Still, the memories clung to me. It's funny how certain situations take you back in time, just from the mentioning. The birth scene in Knocked Up took me right back to Theo's birth, and the feeling of helplessness and fear I experienced as Josie was wheeled away from me, headed for emergency surgery. Seeing Al's doppleganger took me back to the days right before I moved out of the homestead, to a time when I would spend one night a week, at my parent's empty house. This was intended to help us prepare for the impending split. What lonely nights those were.
I looked over at Corb, grateful that those nights are no longer.
Later that night, around two, I woke up with a weird feeling in my stomach.
I knew what that meant. I lay in bed for ten more minutes with a rumbly in my tumbly, and then stumbled to the bathroom, to kneel before the porcelain throne.
A few minutes later, as I sat cross-legged in front of the toilet, gasping, with the sour taste of the charcoaled ribs in my mouth, I could hear Corb in the other room. "Honey? Honey, what's going on?"
"Nothing, nothing Corb. I'm okay." I called out.
Damn. They tasted better going down than coming up. I moved into the spare bedroom to spread out, just in case I wasn't finished.