Friday, March 4, 2011

COMMON GROUND "The Toilet Seat" - Part 8

Max was in Miller’s bed. They were spooning. Max had his arms around Miller as if they’d fallen asleep post coital and slept like lovers through the night.

Nicholas’s eyes got wide as he slammed the door and tried to contain his surprise.
The slam of the door woke Miller, but he had yet to really open his eyes and stir.

“Why are you yelling?” responded Miller. The hangover prevention had not worked for him.

“I’m not yelling. I’m whispering loudly. I can’t yell because your mother is downstairs and I wouldn’t want her to hear me ask you why Max is in your bed and why Max is holding you like the you were last night’s trick?”

Miller slowly realized there was an arm on top of him and a body behind him. Even more slowly he turned to see that Max was the body.

“Max!” he loudly whispered as he threw Max’s arm off of him then put his hand to his pounding head.

Max jerked awake.

“What? What happened?” Max said as he sat up on his elbow and took in the situation. Nicholas was standing beside the bed with his arms crossed and Miller was staring at him, trying to keep his eyes open and his pounding head attached to his body. Max looked down at his own body and saw the close proximity it held to Miller’s. Then he realized he was in Miller’s room.

“You better not have put your beer goggles on last night,” said Nicholas to Max. “Miller, your mom is downstairs.”

“What?” said Miller alternately confused and taken aback. “What is she doing here?”

“Shrubs,” he half giggled half blurted. “She wants new shrubs and wants you to go to the nursery with her.”

“Damn it! Sometimes I hate that they live so close.”

“Just get up and put on your robe. Maybe you should brush your teeth. My breath was so bad this morning I wanted to look for the cat that had obviously shit in my mouth during the night.”

The bed started to shake and Miller turned to see that Max was lying there laughing at Nicholas’s comment.

Miller smiled as he got up. He stood too quickly. He felt slightly dizzy as the blood rushed to his head. Nicholas steadied him and handed him his robe.

“Go to the bathroom first, then go to your mom,” he said to Miller. Then he looked at Max, “You stay here in the bedroom and don’t make a sound. I established with Maggie that we thought you might have gone out for a run or something. It’s a good thing you waited to take your clothes off in Miller’s room” Back to Miller he said, “I’ll join you downstairs for moral support in a minute.”

Miller made his way to the bathroom and avoided his reflection as he passed the mirror. He went directly to the toilet. He looked at it and saw that there were yellow droplets on the seat. Nicholas he thought to himself. He grabbed some toilet paper and wiped up the spots. He then sat down to urinate. When he was done he knew it was time to face the morning. He looked like he’d been run over by the car he thought had knocked Nicholas out of his shoes the night before. He splashed some cold water on his face and ran his wet fingers through his hair. He was fighting a wave of nausea by taking deep, calculated, calming breaths. He quickly rinsed his mouth out with mouthwash. He didn’t want to take the time to brush his teeth. He thought he might gag and honestly just wanted to get the impromptu visit from his mother over and send her on her way.

He walked out of the bathroom and Maggie saw him when he appeared at the top of the stairs. She had folded the sheets and blanket and placed them in a neat pile on the end of the sofa.

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” she called to Miller as he descended the stairs. “I swear I don’t know how you boys get anything accomplished by sleeping the morning away.”

“We’re not morning people, Mom. We get things done in the afternoon.” He walked over and kissed her on the cheek. “What are you doing here?”

“I wanted to get some new shrubbery today. I was thinking Boxwood’s. You’re so good at picking out stuff like that – flowers, dinnerware, the curtains in my bedroom – I was hoping you’d go with me today.” The optimistic smile on her face made him regret declining her request.

“You should have called, Mom,” responded Miller. “I have plans today.”
“I did call, honey, but you didn’t answer.”

“Did you leave a message?”

“No. I just decided to come on over,” said Maggie. “I thought you might still be asleep.”

“Well, you were right about that,” he said as he started walking her to the door. “How about this; I’ll come by in a few days and take a look at what you bought.” He looked at her with all the excitement he could muster. “Sound good? I trust you’ll be able to pick out the Boxwood’s you like.”

“Okay, honey,” said Maggie in her cheerful, good-natured way. She stopped as she was about the exit the townhouse and turned around. “Miller, are you okay? You don’t look so good.”

“Too much tequila last night, Mom,” he responded with a grimace.

“You know I don’t like it when you drink,”

“I know, Mom, but you asked and I am an adult standing in my own home.”

“You’re right,” she chuckled. “I shouldn’t ask the question if I don’t want the answer.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll call you later. Maybe I’ll even text you a picture of the Boxwood’s from the store.”

“Okay, Mom. Have a good day.” Miller shut the door and headed straight to the downstairs bathroom.

He thought he might be sick. He wasn’t sure what was in his stomach to throw up, but he sat on the floor of the downstairs bathroom and put his head on the cold toilet. When the wave of nausea hit him he tried to lift up the seat before expelling. It was stuck. He was frustrated but he was starting to heave. Nothing came out. It was the dreaded dry heaves. He continued the muscle spasm induced movement for the next five minutes then it stopped. He just wanted to lie there on the floor, but Nicholas was knocking.

“Miller? Are you okay?” asked Nicholas.

“I’m okay,” said Miller through the door as he started to get up from the floor. “It’s just the dry heaves.” He opened the door. Nicholas presented him with a bottle of water.

“Just sit down on the sofa and drink this. We’ll get some French fries in a bit. I know how that always helps your hangover.”

“You’re right, but at this moment, I think even French fries would make me vomit.”

“Well, after you finish the water, we’ll see how you feel.”

Max had gotten up and was making his way downstairs.

“I hope you brushed your teeth,” said Nicholas as Max got to the bottom. “We can all peel paint or singe eyebrows with our breath this morning.”

“I tested that while I was in the bathroom upstairs,” said Max. “It kinda made me gag.”

Nicholas laughed. “I gagged too, right in front of Maggie. It was a high point,” he said flatly, almost monotonous.

“Hey, Buttercup. How you feelin’?” asked Max.

“I’ll be fine,” he said. “I can’t believe I’m the one with the hangover. I took the aspirin and I drank my entire bottle of water.”

“I told him we’ll get fries in a little bit and see if we can’t cure his hangover with some grease.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Max.

Without opening his eyes or moving too much Miller asked, “Has anyone been in the downstairs bathroom this morning?”

“I haven’t,” said Nicholas.

“I just came downstairs,” said Max. “Although I have no idea if I went in there last night before I made it up the stairs and to your room.”

“Why?” asked Nicholas.

“I could be mistaken, but I couldn’t raise the seat when I was in there.”

Nicholas went immediately to the bathroom to check it out.

“It’s glued down,” he yelled from inside. “Seriously, it’s glued to the bowl.”

Max walked into the bathroom followed by a slow moving Miller. Max saw a key on the side of the vanity. He reached out a picked it up and looked at it. He recognized it right away. It was a key to Miller and Nicholas’s apartment.

“Meghan’s been here,” he said as he showed them the key.

“What?” asked Nicholas.

“This is Meghan’s key to your house. She put the pink cover on it so she would always know which one it was.”

“Do you mean to tell me that Meghan came into our apartment while we were asleep and glued the toilet seat down?” asked Nicholas as he processed the situation.

Miller started to laugh. The other two turned to him.

“She glued down the toilet seat,” he said through laughter. “She came into our apartment with glue and glued down our toilet seat.” He continued to laugh. “Who does shit like that?” He then put his hand to his head. “Oh my head.”

Nicholas and Max started to laugh with him.

“Is she bipolar?” asked Nicholas.

“She’s not bipolar. She’s just really angry with me and she’s hurt and she’s lashing out at the people I love,” responded Max.

He walked out of the bathroom and went into the living room to sit on the sofa. He buried his face in his hands. It was starting to sink in that his observation from the night before about not being able to go home again was true. He couldn’t stop his emotions from turning into tears.

Miller and Nicholas joined him on the sofa - one on either side of him. They were stronger together than when they were separate.

“What am I gonna do?” asked Max.

“You’re gonna move in here with us. That’s what you’re gonna do,” said Miller as he grabbed Max’s hand.

“When does my get over it begin,” asked Max as he searched Miller’s eyes for the answer.

“I don’t know, Max, but until it does you’re gonna be right here with us,” replied Miller.

“Listen, we’ll do a quick rearrange in the living room and move the desk out here. We can easily turn the office into your room,” said Nicholas.

“See. You’re gonna be fine, Max,” said Miller. His hangover took a backseat to the Folgers coffee commercial moment at hand.

“You can use our air mattress until you can get furniture of your own,” said Nicholas.

“After we go get those fries for me, we’ll go to your place and you can get enough stuff for the next few days,” said Miller. “If Meghan is home, Nicholas will go in and get the stuff.”

Nicholas looked as Miller inquisitively. Miller smiled.

“Your hangover must be getting better. Your bitchiness is showing,” said Nicholas.

“I’m on the mend. The water’s helping,” said Miller. He then turned to Max. “Next time you decide to get in bed with me and you want to spoon, you really should put a pillow between us. I have no desire to feel that much of you in the morning – if you know what I mean.

“Noted,” said Max with an embarrassed laugh. “Thank you,” He looked from one to the other. “Thank you for your friendship, for your support and for always loving me no matter how bad I screw things up. Thank you for making it easy for me to just be myself.”

“We love you, Max,” said Miller. “We will always take care of each other. Haven’t you figured that out yet?”

“Always,” said Nicholas. “So, how about we get dressed and get this day underway. It seems like the perfect day for a move doesn’t it?”

“That’s to be determined,” said Miller.

“While we’re out we should stop by Home Depot,” said Max. “I should get some acetone to remove the glue and I should get a new toilet seat.” A sheepish grin then formed on his face. “I can’t believe she actually glued down the toilet seat.

As they sat on the sofa laughing, Miller appreciated how rare and special their friendship truly was.

©2011 Michael Rohrer