The Nail In The Coffin

It’s been awhile. Sorry about that. I’ve been so busy finalizing the details of our dream home and wrapping up our summer of 2017 wedding plans that I….

<record scratch> 

Hi. Welcome back to my reality. Where did I leave off? Oh yes – showering during off-peak, low-rate utility hours, and conserving water by flushing toilets only when I pooped at Anthony’s parent’s house.

Thanks to my relentless search on Craigslist, I was able to find us the perfect little home to rent – which happened to be defined as anything with four walls, a roof, and some privacy. Don’t get me all wrong. I acknowledge and appreciate Anthony’s parents sharing their home with us for a few weeks. I also acknowledge and appreciate my sanity, so the house just down the road that was built in 1472 with no garbage disposal (a usual deal breaker for me), was our next abode. This would be address change number seven for me in four years – RV Park included. I still can’t believe I got my mail in that place. Sallie Mae was fucking relentless. Meanwhile, Anthony’s Maine license still read the address that he was carried home to at birth, 28 years prior, and people wondered why I complained about his level of commitment.

If I had never lived in a 1980’s RV named Grandma (something no one should ever endure in their lives), I could more confidently say that this new house was the crappiest place we’d ever laid our heads. And while technically it wasn’t the worst place on earth, it was for sure the worst place in Westbrook, Maine. There were the typical things: drafty and cold downstairs, hotter than a witches tit upstairs. Bugs and webs founds in all corners no matter how many times I sucked them up in the vacuum. Closets better suited as trap doors in Alice in Wonderland, and bedrooms that were so small we had to scoot to the end of the bed just to get out of it. But nothing compared to the trials and tribulations that came from the size and condition of our bathroom. A bathroom that would eventually seal the fate of Anthony’s baseball career – at least for that year.

It had a claw foot tub (some attempt at charm, I presume) situated directly in front of a window where you’d stand while washing your armpits and asshole. It had the kind of picturesque view (that can only be captured in places like Westbrook) of our lush backyard and the multi-unit apartment building we so closely shared our real estate with. Our landlord really capitalized on the split lot, and now the neighbors were undoubtedly capitalizing on the free peep shows being put on by us in our crummy, claw foot tub. To shield ourselves from the involuntary voyeurism, we needed, like, 15 shower curtains just to encase the entire thing. It felt a little bit like a Dexter episode every time I stepped foot in there. You know what I’m talking about. And by “you” – I’m not talking to you rich guys with the soaking tubs in the middle of your spacious en suite. I’m talking about those of us who do a walk-through of an entire property thinking ‘Okay, this isn’t that bad. I can manage here for a year. We all gotta start somewhe -‘ And then you see it. The claw foot tub in a 2×2 bathroom and all you want to do is ask the guy why he didn’t just go with the god damn Bath Fitter shower that matches the rest of the shitty, non-existent decor of the house. But it’s Greater Portland, where the rental market is more inflated that Anthony’s ego. So you smile and say, “Oh my gawwwwddd. I LOVE that claw foot tub!” while hoping that gets you out of the credit check since you’re obviously bougie enough to recognize the appeal of a chipped, dusty tub.

So that was the tub. The mixing bowl on a stick that the guy called a pedestal sink wasn’t big enough to hold a bar of soap, and neither Anthony nor I could even see in the mirror if we stood up straight. The bathroom design was really not well thought out, in my personal opinion, but it was an especially poor layout if you were born with any extremities. Seems a little bizarre, but it really was the PERFECT bathroom if you didn’t need to move or reach for things at all. You just step in the bathroom, climb up on top of the sink to shut the door, step back down on the floor and decide what you wanted to do. Wash you hands? Boom – right in front of you? Shower? Find an opening in the 30 shower curtains and step on in. Go to the bathroom? Just sit backwards. It was all right there! Now that I think of it – that kind of innovation really might appeal to some people. Lazy, extremity-less people, but people nonetheless.

When Anthony saw the bathroom for the first time, I remember how uncomfortable he got. He had sort of grazed around the rest of the house, going with the typical D’Alfonso IDGAF flow, but then we came to the bathroom and he stopped dead in his tracks. I could see the gears of his brain rapidly churning before he turned to me and said, “I really don’t think I can shit on that toilet.” I laughed at his seriousness, his fear really, and told him he’d be fine.

He spent the entire lease at that house pooping at a 90 degree angle.

Anthony hated that bathroom from day one. Everyone who used it did, really. But 6’5″, 260 pound Anthony despised it. I could always hear him clanking around in there when he got out of the shower. Banging his knee off the sink, whacking his hand off the corner of the door. It was a god damn nightmare. One particular night during the winter, we were getting ready to pick up pizza and head to a friend’s house. Anthony had just stepped out of the shower, and I was in the middle of the hallway doing my hair and makeup (where there was more room). I heard a crash of glass and then, “Babe?” in a scared voice. I turned around to find Anthony standing there holding his left wrist up, completely gashed open down to the ligaments and bone. I’d never seen anything like it in real life and we probably both felt like we were going to pass out. I have no idea how much time passed, but I said ‘Okay. Okay. Okay’ in a breathy, I’m-trying-to-be-cool, but I might throw up kind of way, before grabbing the towel out of his hand and wrapping it around his wrist. I walked him – naked – over to the guest bedroom and sat him down while I called 911. Those operators are cool as a cucumber, but I kinda wish they’d stop asking questions like “where are you now?” Like lady, who gives a fuck! Is this guy gonna die in front of me or not? Meanwhile, Anthony was sitting there buck ass naked asking me what happens if he stops breathing. Knowing how he was with a head-cold, his dramatics weren’t all that surprising, and I assured him that the cut on the top of his wrist was not going to end his life.

The first on the scene was a police officer. We had gotten Anthony dressed and moved downstairs to the couch. It was one of the worst days for both of us. For Anthony, because he almost sliced his hand off. For me, because I had bought a white shag rug for the living room that afternoon and every single emergency responder walked inside from the snow storm, trampling all over it. At one point after the police asked me if this was domestic abuse (uh, tempting, but no). I then asked him if he could please get the fuck off my rug. He obliged, but wasn’t overly impressed.

We loaded up in the ambulance, and after Anthony had been properly wrapped up, we called Mama D. I’ll never forget it. I prefaced the call with “Anthony is fine, but we’re heading to the hospital because he gashed open his hand on the light fixture in our bathroom while drying off Zest commercial style. It’s really bad.” She sighed and asked me, “Which hand is it?” Ummmm, what? Maybe she meant “Which hospital?” I was trying to figure out the relevance of why it mattered which hand had been injured at that moment, before quickly remembering the bloodline of baseball and softball that ran through this family. She was probably going to ask them to stitch him up with baseball stitches.

“It’s his right hand, Mama D.”

“Ugh, great.” she sounded distraught. Which confused me because I thought it was clear that we were home in Maine because of Anthony’s retirement from baseball. Like, for good this time. One thing was for sure though, baseball was definitely not getting resurrected that year. Anthony needed 25 – 30 stitches and to repair a severed tendon. He had surgery and physical therapy ahead of him. And maybe worse than that, he faced an onslaught of insecurity and fear of what life was going to be like without baseball.

I’ll tell you what it was going to be like. Hell on Earth.


2 thoughts on “The Nail In The Coffin

  1. Absolutely captivating read… Very well done… I felt a rollercoaster of emotions throughout… Mostly laughter… The bathroom seems like a step up from “Grandma” though… In true Dalfonso IDGAF fashion…

    Liked by 1 person

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