My husband doesn’t know how to tell a story. Or rather, he doesn’t know how to tell a story to me. I prefer a news article approach to storytelling. You need to give me a headline. Then give me a lede. (Look it up.) And then tell me the story. The least important stuff should be at the end.
Hubs often starts stories in the middle, tells me nothing, and then walks away. Sometimes we’re just sitting around talking about what we’re having for dinner and he’ll just throw out “And that’s when I said to him, blah blah blah.” All I’m thinking is who is “him?” And when did this happen? And are you going to answer me about the mac and cheese or not?
I usually go to Hubs’ doctors appointments because I remember to ask the questions he doesn’t. One time I couldn’t go with him because I was at work. He was leaving from work and going right back to work afterwards. But I did ask him to call me right after. This is how the conversation went:
HIM: I just got out of the appointment.
ME: Ok. What did he say?
HIM: [Sigh] It’s bad.
ME: What? What’s bad? What’s wrong?
HIM: Hold on. You always talk over me. Just let me tell you. Don’t interrupt me.
ME: Ok. Fine. But you have to talk if you don’t want me to start talking.
HIM: He said it’s bad but it’s more common than it used to be. It’s the fastest growing killer of black men in America. You need to get tested, too, because it’s almost a given that you have it, too. We’re just gonna have to change our lifestyle. He says people live a long time with it as long as they take the medication and stay otherwise healthy. [BEEP] Oh, wait, that’s Mike. I gotta talk to him. I’ll call you back in a minute. [HANGS UP]
ME: WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT?????!!!!!! NO, DON’T HANG UP!!! WHAT DO WE HAVE?? WHAT ARE WE ABOUT TO DIE OF??
But he was already gone. And he didn’t call back, either. And I tried to call him a million times but he didn’t answer. He used to keep his phone in the car because he couldn’t take calls at work. So I was just left to wonder about what I was going to die of.
Of course, my mind went straight to AIDS. It all fit. I immediately turned to my most trusted medical professional: Google.
“What’s the life expectancy of a 30 year old black woman with AIDS?”
“Is there really no cure for AIDS”
“What medicine is prescribed for AIDS”
“How to tell your family you have AIDS”
“How to fight AIDS once you already have it”
“How to tell if you gave your partner AIDS or he gave you AIDS”
“Best AIDS doctors”
“Support groups for people with AIDS”
By the time Hubs has gotten home, I had signed up for an AIDS march, two support groups, and written a speech to give my friends and family about how I had AIDS but AIDS didn’t have me.
HIM: Hey what’s up?
ME: What do you mean “what’s up?” How can you look so calm knowing we are going to die?
HIM: Who’s dying?
HIM: Who told you that?
ME: Your doctor said so. He said we have AIDS.
HIM: I said he said I have high blood pressure. I really need to eat better and change my lifestyle. And you probably have it, too, because we live together and eat together.
ME: You didn’t say “high blood pressure.”
HIM: Oh I didn’t? I was sure I did. Yeah, it’s pretty serious. We need to start eating better so I brought home Chinese one last time. You want an eggroll?
ME: Fuck you. . . but yeah, give me the egg roll.
Now I go to ALL of his doctors appointments with him, no matter what.