Last Friday I announced a call for content for 90s nostalgia pieces, prompted by the 25th anniversary of the Nirvana release Nevermind. This is a great way for me to recognize some of my favorite readers and writers by celebrating your stories and writing.
Thanks to Monica Hagnevik, a writer living in Sweden, for her moving piece below, enjoy.
We met in the 90s, 1996 to be more precise. It was a complete meeting of the minds, despite the 29 year age difference. I had been married before, but it was certainly not a marriage of equals, much less a meeting of the minds. However with him, the connection was evident right from the start; although it would take until 1998 before it became a true relationship. Up until that point, it was more casual sex and enjoying the company of another person with no strings attached. The thing that secured my love for him, and I think might have sparked it in him also, occurred on a weekend trip in 1998 to Niagara Falls. Previously he had come to visit me in the southwest where I had moved two years before, but now we decided to spend a spring weekend together during a visit with my family in New York.
The hotel wasn’t anything fancy, just one of those two-story Travelodge types that still existed in heart of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side. It was old and worn but clean; however, the bathroom was iffy, and the toilet did not flush very well. And that iffy toilet became the focus of my love for him. We had a great time the first day and night exploring the casino and taking a ride on the Maid-of-the-Mist. That night the toilet worked okay, you just kind of held your breath while it was flushing. The next day we drove north along the river and went to one of the wineries, and that night it was the casino again and a very nice dinner.
We got back to the hotel quite late after having a bit of luck at the blackjack tables. My stomach was not happy with me at the moment, and I badly needed to poop. It was still that point in the relationship where it was perfectly fine to have crazy sex and be adventurous but it was still kind of hard to poop if he was in the next room. It did not help that I was wary of the scary toilet, and really did not have a choice. I approached the toilet with some apprehension but also with an unrelenting urgency. I wiped with the least amount of paper possible, depressed the lever, and prayed. It seemed to be working just fine, but then all went to hell, and the now filthy water began to rise to a dangerous level. OH SHIT! It happened! My worst nightmare had come true, and it was EVERYWHERE!
I must have shouted or something because the next thing I know he is standing there in the bathroom with me as I try to shut the water off to stop Niagara Falls from coming out of the overflowing bowl. Without even a blink, he was on his knees shutting off the water and reaching deep into the bowl to try to remove whatever blockage there might be in there. Need I remind you that this was poopy water, and he just stuck his bare hand in there without hesitation? He could have called the office and requested help, but he didn’t; he just reached in and fixed it himself. Looking back, it seems strange that this would be the moment where I realized that I loved this man and wanted to spend forever with him. But then again, maybe it is not so strange after all. It was an act that was disgusting, but he was willing to do it despite its unpleasantness. If that is not love, then I don’t know what is.
Within three months of this incident, he was looking for a house where I lived, and a year after that fateful trip, we were living together. We married in 2003 and would have celebrated 18 years together this past May. I say would have because I did not get the chance to spend forever with him. I lost him this past December, and nine months later, I am still struggling to live with my grief and loneliness. On the day that would have been our 18th anniversary, I decided to do something that would be permanent and forever—get a tattoo. It is the words ‘forever Love’ wrapped in an infinity symbol bisected by a heart with a golden rosebud (my favorite flower). My memories are all I have now, but they are good ones. Thanks for letting me share.
I am an American who has lived on both coasts of the United States. For the last 7 years, I have hung my hat in a small town in southern Sweden, in a region called Österlen or the ‘Tuscany’ of Sweden. I spend my time reading and writing for my Master’s in English Literature at Lund University, and playing with my two kitties–Honeybear and Sweetiepie. I have a blog, but I have neglected it for the past 18 months or so. I hope to get back to it some time in the future, maybe with this piece. The Road Paved with Books.