A few weeks ago marked our first month-a-versary, it also marked our first argument and it wasn’t over something cute or sweet like most couples who fight over, “Who loves you more?” No, this was a fight between two moody Mexicans in front of an audience–and it wasn’t pretty. I shall recreate the scene and uphold its truth, integrity and in doing so will sway you to see things my way–the right way.
Santiago had asked me a few weeks ago to take mommy photos of his good friend, Jackie, who was 7 months pregnant. Before my blogging and vlogging career took off like wildfire (insert confused look) I was making it in New York City as a photographer, working with models, doing red carpet events, and occasional mommies-to-be. Everything was set up for the weekend and the photo shoot took place in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The shoot turned out amazing, despite the fact that I hadn’t picked up my camera in over 6 months. As Jackie and her husband were dropping us off at Santiago’s apartment, she got the urge to pee, which was weird because I got the urge to have sex with Santiago by the huge bay window in his apartment that over-looks the Korean fish market in his neighborhood, but I digress.
Once inside, Jackie invited both of us to her home in Queens where she was preparing a huge feast for her birthday party that night. Santiago got excited but I had to remind him of a few things; so I, in a gentle and loving way–like you see moms do with their 5-year-olds at Target–yanked him to the side and refreshed his soggy little memory.
Nando: I’m all for going, but we’ll have to return to Brooklyn, get dressed, then head into the city to meet my friends at 10:30 pm so we can all ride to Queens to go to the club you selected because you wanted to go out Salsa dancing this weekend.
Santiago: Oh, right. Well, what if we go later once we’re dressed?
Nando: Okay, we can do that. But then after riding the train for 2 hours into Queens from Brooklyn, we will still have to leave Queens and meet my friends in Manhattan then catch the train back up to Queens to the club.
Santiago: Oh, wow. Well, what if we take our stuff over to Jackie’s now, and get dressed at her place?
Nando: Sounds great–but where will we leave our stuff? Do you want to take your dirty clothes to the club with you? Or shall we leave them at Jackie’s and return another day? It’s up to you.
Santiago: Oh God, that’s not gonna happen. Okay babe, I’ll take care of this. (Gives me a kiss on the cheek)
I was beaming with pride. My boyfriend had not taken into consideration all traveling we’d have to partake just to eat some birthday cake and explain to a house full of old Latin people why neither one of us didn’t have girlfriends. (We’re both OUT but you can never really explain to someone’s grandmother why we enjoy anal intercourse) Through effective communication and strategic bullets points in my message, Santiago understood what had to be done and like a good solider, he went off to war to defend his country, or in this case his tired boyfriend who desperately needed a nap. He’d just have to explain to Jackie that this weekend wasn’t good but we’d make it out there another time and celebrate.
We were all gathered around the table, laughing and joking. Santiago was at one end of the table and I was at the other, with Jackie and her husband between us.
Jackie: So are you guys coming back to Queens with us?
Santiago shot me a look that put me at ease. His sexy brown eyes told me, “Nando, I’ll handle this with diplomacy, with ease and make you proud.
Santiago: No, we aren’t going cause Nando doesn’t want to.
Both Jackie and her husband looked at me with disgust. I was now the target of evil. I symbolized the obstacle keeping them from experiencing joy and merriment on this joyous occasion. All they wanted was to share a piece of beef and cake with Santiago and now I–the evil boyfriend–was keeping him from it. Had Santiago not been so far away, I would have done what any Mexican in my situation had done, kicked, pinched or yanked him in some fashion but seeing as he was beyond my reach, AND IN SHOCK, all I could do was smile and for whatever reason, giggle.
After they left the apartment, I went into the bedroom to calm down. Did he just put me on the spot? Did he just throw me under the bus? I heard him on the phone, then after hanging up–he walked in and found me in bed attempting to nap.
Santiago: Mi amor, that was a fun day, right?
Nando: Which part? The nice photo session in the park or the character assassination in the living room?
Santiago: Nando, what are you talking about?
Nando: I don’t want to get into it now, I need a nap and then we can talk.
A few moments later, the buzzer rang and it was the delivery guy. After Jackie left, Santiago ordered out and got me a few of my favorite dishes. I guess that’s who I heard him on the phone with.
Santiago: Mi amor, I know you want to nap, but I think you should eat, here’s the food.
I stayed quiet and pouted a bit longer then saw something that changed my life, my mind and my heart. As Santiago was about to bite into his chicken Parmesan sandwich, he took one glance my way and had the saddest puppy-dog eyes I had ever seen. His character had gone from his normal cheerful personality to a confused and sad state. As he chewed on his chicken, he’d glance over at me with a look that conveyed, “I’m sorry. I’m not sure what for, but really, I am.”
And for the first time in my life, I felt responsible for my partner’s feelings. In past relationships, I’d let them eat in discomfort, hell, I’d even pray that the chicken was rubbery and the bun was soggy, but not this time, not with him. Looking at Santiago wearing that sad look hurt me; I wanted to fix things and see his smile again. (What that boy can get away with when he smiles–it’s dangerous!) And we did just that. We had an open and honest talk about clarifying if either one of us was confused about what the other had said. I discovered that Santiago honestly thought I didn’t want to go because of the way I was explaining myself. I didn’t mind going, really, but I wanted him to understand what would be involved if we went. I also suggested that he not put the blame on me for things–not like that. He understood how that made me feel and later called Jackie to explain (I think she still hates me, despite what Santiago tells me).
In the end, this situation brought us closer–to a point that I can’t explain. I learned that there comes a time in a relationship where you feel comfortable enough to let your armor down and convert the person you were in battle with into a trusted friend. It’s not easy, it takes a lot of vulnerability and a lot more faith in the relationship but once you let them in–ah, there’s no turning back. And since then, both Santiago and I ask for clarification when communicating knowing that “…cause Nando doesn’t want to go” just isn’t gonna cut it. If only I would have asked for clarification this past Friday when we were both waiting for one another at different train stops–for over an hour.
What’s brought you closer to the person you’re dating or in a relationship with? Leave a comment.