For people like me, who are not particularly tall, stadium seating in movie theaters is an awesome thing. Finally, I don’t have to crane to see over the head of the person sitting in front of me. It’s totally amazing.
On the other hand, Chris hates it. He says he used to be able to sit anywhere he wants in a theater, but now he’s basically stuck with the handicap-accessible aisle, which is a little closer than he’d like to be to the screen. I don’t mind being close to the screen, although I also have to admit it’s slightly closer than I’d prefer.
So we try to find theaters that don’t have stadium seating, although that’s not an easy task in New York. Most of them do these days. And the ones that don’t are pretty old and may not be wheelchair accessible in some other annoying way. Also, in a non-stadium theater, Chris was once told by an usher that he had to sit in the first row to avoid creating a fire hazard. The usher wasn’t trying to be a jackass, but he was talking to Chris in this slow voice, like he thought he was mentally challenged or something and didn’t understand what he was saying. Unfortunately, that’s something that happens from time to time, and I can tell it really embarrasses him a lot. Considering how intelligent Chris is, there’s something amazing about the fact that someone could look at his wheelchair and assume, just based on that, that he’s retarded, but like I said, it definitely happens sometimes. In any case, we ended up leaving the theater and getting a refund on our tickets rather than argue with the guy.
Today we’re about to see this time travel movie with Bruce Willis. How come Bruce Willis is in so many time travel movies? Unfortunately, we’re stuck with a theater that has stadium seating, and Chris is sitting next to me in the middle of the theater, trying not to sulk.
“It’s not so bad,” I tell him. “I like being close to the screen.”
“This close?” He raises his eyebrows.
“Yes,” I say without hesitation.
Finally, he smiles. I try to take his hand, but he pulls it away. “Everyone can see us,” he hisses. Seriously? I thought he was over that.
My hands ball up in frustration, but I take a calming breath. I know as soon as the lights go out, he’ll be willing to hold hands. And maybe even make out a little. For now, the best I can hope for is that our hands touch in the popcorn tub.
Chris ends up liking the movie more than I do. We discuss it over dinner and I explain to him that time travel movies almost always piss me off due to being so inconsistent. “There are two kinds of time travel,” I explain. “Time travel where things you do in the past change your future self, and time travel where things you do while time traveling explain things that happen in the past. But most movies just confuse the two.”
“So what are you saying?” Chris asks me, a smile playing on his lips. “Time travel isn’t possible?”
“Well, it could be possible,” I say. “Quantum physics says you can create a wormhole that could be used to travel through time, right?”
“Right,” Chris says. “Of course, say you threw a ball through that wormhole into the past and then placed the second wormhole in a place where it will knock the ball out of the path of the wormhole so it won’t go in, then you’ve created a paradox, right?”
“I know that argument,” I say. “The counter-argument is that the ball that goes through that wormhole won’t knock the ball out of the way, but just change its trajectory so that it knocks the original ball at an angle that will cause it to still go into the wormhole and not knock the ball out of the way.”
Chris nods. “So basically, you’re saying that you can’t change the future outcome. Even if you can time travel.”
“That’s what I believe, yes,” I say. I raise my eyebrows at him. “If you had a time machine, would you go back to the past to try to change it?”
“Maybe,” he says, using his straw to stir the ice around in his water glass. “Maybe I’d go back and tell my 14 year old self to go see a damn doctor and get an MRI of my spine.”
I don’t know what to say to that. On our first date, he said that he didn’t mind being in a wheelchair and that it wasn’t something he would change if he could. But there are other days when it seems like he minds very much.
“Eh, it probably wouldn’t work,” he says, shrugging. “Like you said, if I did that, the surgery itself would probably end up damaging my spinal cord. And if it did work, then I’d have no reason to go back to the past and there’d be a huge paradox that would destroy the universe. And that would suck.”
“Hey,” I say, trying to smile. “Didn’t you tell me that it doesn’t make a difference to you that you can’t walk?”
“It doesn’t,” he says quickly. “It really doesn’t. But… well, it would be nice to sit wherever we want in the theater, right?”
“I told you, I like to sit close.”
“So you say…”
Something in his expression makes my heart ache for him. I want to lean across the table and kiss him, but I know he won’t go for that. Instead I offer him my hand under the table and he grasps it in his and smiles at me.
Chris usually showers early in the morning. I wouldn’t call him a morning person, but even on weekends, he’ll get up at 7AM and go straight to the shower. I wake up earlier than him on weekdays, but I like to sleep in on weekends.
A few times, I’ve woken up on a Sunday morning to the sound of him in the shower. And honestly, the thought of him showering is just so, so hot. He has this shower bench that he presumably uses to slide into the shower and then sit on when he’s showering. I see it when I’m using his bathroom, but the thought of actually seeing him using it is incredibly sexy to me. A few times I have quickly masturbated while the shower was going on.
This Sunday morning, however, I can’t take it another minute. I get out of bed, and pull off the oversized T-shirt that I sleep in, as well as my panties. What man rejects the company of his naked girlfriend in the shower?
I rap once on the bathroom door and enter. The yellow shower curtains are drawn around the bathtub, and the mirrors are all fogged up and the steam feels nice on my bare skin. His wheelchair is positioned next to the tub, with a fresh towel draped over the seat. “Hey,” I say in my sexiest, throatiest voice.
Chris pulls back the shower curtains so that I can just see his face, one muscled shoulder, and the back of the shower bench. His brown hair looks black and is plastered to his skull by the water. “Samantha,” he says hoarsely. “What do you need?”
“I thought I could join you?” I raise my eyebrows suggestively.
Chris looks absolutely horrified. “No, I…” He blinks a few times as droplets of water get in his eyes. “I’ll be out in a few minutes, okay?”
“Come on,” I say, trying to smile. “It’ll be fun.”
He shakes his head. “Please go,” he says so firmly that I know there’s no point in arguing.
I leave the bathroom, and put my nightshirt back on. I feel totally crappy and self-conscious. I wonder if I had bigger boobs, maybe he would have wanted me to join him. Men have trouble resisting big boobs.
When Chris comes out of the bathroom a ten minutes later, partially dressed in boxers and a T-shirt, I’m practically on the verge of tears. Chris looks alarmed when he sees me, and quickly wheels over. His hair is damp and I see a drop of water trickle down his neck and darken his gray shirt. “Samantha,” he says, grabbing my hands in his. “What’s wrong?”
Is he an idiot? “You don’t want to take a shower with me,” I remind him.
“Come on,” he says. “You don’t really want to do that.”
Well, I came into the bathroom totally naked, so obviously I do. “Yes, I do,” is all I say.
“Stop it,” he says, as if I’m teasing him or something. “You know I have to sit down on a bench in the shower. I don’t know what you’re imagining, but it’s not going to be sexy. At all.”
Speak for yourself.
“It could be…” I say timidly.
“No,” he says, shaking his head firmly. “It’s not. Trust me.”
Chris leans forward and starts kissing me gently. Well, first it’s gentle, but each kiss grows with desire. Soon he’s pushing me down onto the bed and tugging off my underwear. He goes down on me, and it’s fantastic, although mostly because I’m still picturing the two of together in the shower. Me kneeling before him, helping him to soap up his naked body, his paralyzed legs.
Chris and I have reached a point in our relationship where it's time we start meeting each other's friends. He's already met Kate, of course, and I met a couple of friends of his here and there, but nothing where anyone had a chance to get to know anyone (and possibly disapprove of them).
For me, I know the introductions are probably going to start with my friend Gina. I met Gina several years ago when we were out with some friends, and one of them brought a guy along to try to get him to hook up with either me or Gina. Neither of us liked the guy, but we liked each other, and thus a beautiful friendship was born.
Gina works for an online magazine, and she always considers herself extremely hip. She's one of those people who would never consider getting married before age 35, and when she decides to get married, it will probably be some huge event that will be featured on every blog in the city. She's one of the funnest girls I know, and she immediately sniffs out that I'm dating a new guy. Nobody can hide anything from this girl.
"Who is he?" she demands to know when we talk on the phone. I've barely said hello.
"Nobody," I say quickly. "I mean, not nobody, but..."
"So what's his name?" Gina asks.
It's futile to struggle against Gina's line of questioning. "Chris."
"Short for Christopher or short for Christian?" she asks. "Or short for Christina?"
"Christina!" I exclaim. "Gina, I told you, I am not a lesbian!"
"Well, you're hiding something," Gina says. "Because any normal hot-blooded heterosexual female would have been salivating over that gorgeous Patrick."
She isn't wrong. "Short for Christian," I say.
"Nice. Where'd you meet?"
"He works at the Apple store," I say, leaving out the story about the toilet. "He helped me fix my iPhone."
"Trendy!" Gina says. "Okay, what celebrity does he look like? And if you say Christian Bale or Christian Slater, I know you're being lazy."
Gina always wants to know what celebrity everyone looks like. The problem is, most people don't look like any celebrities. Most people aren't anywhere near attractive enough to look like a celebrity. And even though Chris is really cute, I still don't think he looks like any celebrity.
"I don't know," I say.
"Okay, describe him."
"Uh, short brown hair, brown eyes. Glasses. On the thin side."
"Tall or short?"
"Medium, I guess." Not that it's easy to gauge when he's always sitting.
"Rivers Cuomo," Gina declares.
"Rivers Cuomo, lead singer of Weezer," she says, irritably. "Hip nerd, right? Here, I'll text you a photo. I just covered a concert he did."
Amazingly, even though Gina has never seen Chris before, I have to admit, he does look a tiny bit like this guy Rivers Cuomo. Of course, I'm guessing the lead singer of Weezer isn't in a wheelchair. It's Weezer, not Wheeler. (Haha.)
"So how serious is it?" she asks.
"Kind of serious," I admit. "He's really sweet and cute, and I basically want to spend every minute with him. He even bought me a new iPhone."
"Hashtag truelove," Gina sighs. "Okay, now tell me what's wrong with him?"
"He's a little shy," I say.
"That's a positive, as far as I'm concerned," Gina says. "I am so sick of these flirty guys. Give me a shy guy any day of the week. What else?"
Now would obviously be a good time to tell Gina that he's in a wheelchair. I mean, she's going to find out sooner or later. But somehow I can't get myself to say it. Every time I open my mouth to form the words, my cheeks start to burn. I know I need to tell her. I don't understand why this is so hard. "Nothing," I finally say.
"So when do I get to meet loverboy?"
We make plans to get together for dinner at her apartment next weekend. Even though I open my mouth to say the words several other times, somehow I just can’t manage to tell her that my boyfriend is a paraplegic. But I suppose the problem will work itself out.
To be continued....
Question for the readers: What do you think? Is Sam making a mistake by not telling Gina in advance that Chris is in a wheelchair? Are we obligated to give our friends a heads up?