When I came back to his house (I could come in by myself by then; all the security guards and front doormen recognized me), I found him in the living room. He’d changed out of his suit and into gym shorts and a t-shirt.
There was packing material all over the floor–cardboard, foam–and he had a tool kit out and was…
I’d seen this man assemble shit a few times before, and beyond replacing lightbulbs it always had something to do with ME, so I froze and took notice.
(The first time, it was removing the door from my bedroom. The second, drilling a hole through his kitchen table to install an screw-eye so that I could be chained through it during dinnertime, like a prisoner in an institution. “What are you doing? Are you really drilling a hole in your beautiful tortoiseshell furniture?!” I asked, incredulous. I mean, this table is probably 100 years old, the material priceless and endangered, and here he is with his shirtsleeves rolled up, drilling away. Not to mention: “How are you going to explain the hole to dinner guests?” “Take out the hardware and cover the hole with a vase of flowers,” he said.)
“Hello, Darling,” he said, still working. He was using manual tools and not the power screwdriver–consulting the manual.
“What is this you’re working on?”
“I bought something for you! Ordered it online. It just arrived today!”
I stepped closer and took a closer look at the pieces that were spread out on the floor.
It was wooden and had bars. It looked like…
…a crib?! For a baby?!
For a moment, I didn’t know whether to be elated or completely horrified. I’m going through some complex emotional issues right now concerning whether or not I’ll ever have a family, as I am rapidly approaching the later part of my child-bearing years, and I know my mother went into early menopause. I never wanted children before, I was always against it and assumed I’d be happily childfree, but recently I guess there is something to that “biological clock” trope and I’m starting to think that if I decide that I DO want a family, I need to step on the gas. This is completely new to me, and it’s stressful. I know several women in their 40s who have happily born healthy babies and I still have time left to decide what I want to do, but it is stressful.
I can’t tell anyone about this anxiety. I don’t have a shrink right now and I’m isolated. I can only tell you, my 8 readers.
So, getting back to our narrative: I took a closer look at the packaging and what he was assembling.
It was not a crib. It was a dog crate. A fancy wooden dog crate. Looks a lot like this:
The first time he put me into it, we were having movie night. He sat on the couch with the crate close by. He gave me popcorn and a diet Pepsi I could drink through the bars with a bendy-straw.
It was not comfortable being in the cage because I’m tall and have long legs, so I couldn’t really relax, but, you know, for a few hours it’s tolerable if you don’t have joint problems and aren’t a crybaby. I did have a matress pad and a blanket.
As it ended up, he became too excited knowing that I was in the cage, and he could not focus on the movie.
He stopped it and let me out.
You can guess what happened after that.