As I sit to write this (who am I kidding: I’m totally laying down like a sphinx to write this), the lyrics from FUN.’s Some Nights won’t stop tootling through my mind: “Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck, some nights I call it a draw.” By tootling, I mean that every time I go to put words down on virtual paper, the song comes barreling in like an overbearing stage mom determined to make sure her sweetie-boo is front and center on the community theater stage at. all. times. So, FUN. lyrics, there you are. Maybe someone else can make sense of why you’re desperate to be in this story.
The tale of my weirdo-kidney issues and Utah are almost interlaced. Imagine a corset: two pieces of fabric are cinched together, nearly touching and clearly creating tension though not wrapped up in one another the way a tied shoelace is. It’s hard to tell one story without telling the other.
Utah came to town before the start of the new year for business reasons on a trip planned before ever meeting me at the Moab Brewery. We’d had next to no contact since after our date besides the typical post-date wrap up of “Wasn’t that fun?” and “Your bread is delicious and sustaining me throughout the drive to Arizona!” All of which was followed by a Facebook Friend Request and Acceptance. So when a message on FB popped up letting me know he’d be in town and asking me if I wanted to meet up and walk around the lake to erase any old memories of breakups we had at that particular spot, I agreed at once. A second date while likely reminiscing about moments of heartbreak sounded like just the kind of date-awkward I like.
We met amidst homeless men and goose poop, two very common occurrences at the lake, hugging it out and marveling at the fact there were no cameras to be seen. Would we be different? I asked him. Utah’s response was he wouldn’t be, and then asked if I might be changed sans camera. Fortunately/unfortunately, what you see on camera is pretty much what you get with me: I have zero acting chops so the only thing I’m really good at in any situation is being myself. Utah took this as fortunate.
At first, our lake walk became in essence a walking tour of our recent relationship-history. Utah had been holding a backpack and sitting on that bench when she broke the news to him that they were over. I had been pretending everything was fine as my ex and I walked until right on this one piece of cement when I bubbled over in tears and questions. Utah and I were dumped in just about the same area, and after we commiserated over our tales of woe we moved onto other topics. We stopped for small meal, and in true Utah fashion he gave me a parting gift: souvenirs from UT including their local coffee. A hug and a peck on the cheek ended our date.
Before leaving the state, Utah invited me out again. A sunset stroll through a local cemetery that oddly decked itself out in lights for the holiday season continued on into hot toddies at a local pub and then attending an open mic night where a friend of mine was performing (and where Utah cheerfully embraced the nickname “Utah” as yes, I’d been calling him that behind his back and accidentally introduced him as such to strangers).
And then he was gone, back to Utah though leaving a warm feeling about humanity within me.
Just after the holiday season – maybe three weeks after my third date with Utah – was when my kidney-stuff went bananas. I was given heavy pain medication to help me sleep and temper the constant ache (during which I learned I am highly functional on enough Vicodin to take down a Shetland pony), and was quickly lined up for minor surgery to place a kidney stent.
Are you wondering what a kidney stent is? Yeah, I was too. In slightly medical terms, it’s a long straw with twisty ends, one end in your kidney and the other in your bladder, the less twisty part snaking through your ureter. Its purpose in life is actually not to constantly remind you of its existence (which I was surprised to learn) but to drain your kidney with ease. Without going into too much detail, the thing was painful and frankly a little depressing.
In order to ease my bummed-outness, I decided to name my kidney stent and give him a voice and personality. Stenson was born, and a friend helped me create a very tongue-in-cheek and massively ridiculous website about Stenson and kidney stents in general.* Giving the little guy a name made him a bit more lovable, but frankly didn’t ease the constant pain he dished out.
During the discovery, appointments, and surgery, Utah had been incredibly supportive despite being 900 miles away. Texts every few days, Facetime chats, and a stunning bouquet of flowers delivered to my door were appreciated, and when I had to back out of meeting up with him in Las Vegas as we’d planned, he was understanding to a fault. So when he mentioned wishing he could be around to take care of me, and then mentioned he was coming back to town on business, I figured stars were aligning, fates were colliding, and that it would be really nice to see him again.
I should mention that post surgery, I wasn’t quite myself. My typically stratosphere high energy levels lay down and took a snooze. I would drag myself out to run but the effort was exhausting. Walking for any period of time became painful and required almost immediate rest. Like, not just sitting down, but napping. While in theory I could do anything, and in practice I refused to let Stenson have his way a lot of the time, that still meant sometimes he won. Food felt like a pretty silly invention. I wasn’t a barrel of fun times.
Utah arrived, a bag of groceries and flowers in hand, and we spent the weekend together with me trying to work and mostly napping, him whipping up coffee and omelettes while playing the role of the uber-productive insomniac. Some walks were taken, too, and then he said he needed to go to another part of the bay area, and didn’t make plans for when I’d see him again. We wound up out the next evening for a meal, and then there was miscommunication, and crossed wires for three days before I saw him again.
I wasn’t sure whether once again reality blew fantasy out of the water, if Utah had simply changed his mind, or if I had done something reprehensible or bizarre when it came to my hopes for us which played out in my actions. I hoped to have a conversation with him only he’d invited another friend of his to dinner with us. Smiling through the evening and truly enjoying everyone’s company, I told myself, “If this is the last evening we have together, I’m glad we’ve had a lot of fun.” We talked when the night was nearing a close, him admitting he hadn’t quite lived up to what either of us expected and noting while surely I was a rad girl, he wasn’t quite ready to get his relationship-status changed given the turmoil in his life (which I’m not going to get into, but I didn’t disagree that his life was chaotic). Add to that the rad girl was carting around her own bag of health issues and…yeah.
One of my flaws in relationship talks is either beating dead horses or not pushing hard enough, and during this chat I tried to find the happy medium by mentioning that ideally I would make the tough stuff better, and if I didn’t do that for whatever reason then it was impossible this would work anyway. Utah assured me I did make things better, it was just weird timing. We said goodbye, and I didn’t feel like I had any answers to the him and me problem. Which felt a lot like I’d been trying to solve for X, and after all my search, trial and error, I kept getting x–782(y+c) regardless of how I approached the equation.
Thoughts on why Some Nights needed to be involved in this post welcome.
*50/50 is not responsible for kidney stent related content.