In the most precious moments, I have the supreme blessing of receiving insight from the dude I share a life with. The P.I.C. (partner in crime), Jimmy Paychl.
When I met him, we both worked at Whole Foods. His white work sneaks were filthy - total no-no in my dating requirements (low bar as they were). But he wore a cool Newsies hat and was the cutest guy in the store, so I made an exception and asked him out. We stood in front of the time clock outside the bathrooms and he looked like a deer in headlights. He called me later and explained in a shaky voice that he was "staying up by his folks" for the time being.
"It's ok," I said, "I live with mine, too."
On our first "date," we put on a movie and talked through it, while I downed a bottle of white wine. His mom came out in her nightgown. Later I passed out in the casita where Jimmy stayed, sprawled across the full-size bed like a Singular symbol. He slept on the floor.
In the morning, his eyes were sharp and he was uncomfortably quiet. I couldn't read him and predicted he'd never want to see me again. I was nothing short of a wreck so it wouldn't be the first or last thing gone south. But soon, I happily discovered that he kept the rest of his shoes spotless, giving them a bath after every wear. When I admitted my initial judgement of his muddy whites, he threw them away and never wore dirty shoes again.
Soon he was leaving surprise blenders and socks in my Camry. Guidebooks of Spain and Costa Rica in my work locker. Love notes written in Sharpie on brown paper towels - "You're smokin' hot!!!" We made outrageously rich, chaotically paired five-course meals: fettucine alfredo, ribeye, mashed potatoes, grilled veg, caprese salad. He made a buffalo ranch chicken casserole that swelled my insides for a week. When my skin passed the point of unbearably painful, we cleared the cabinets together and spent hours in the aisles of Whole Foods, discovering cleaner options that existed beyond the bakery case and pizza station.
The P.I.C. was the only man that laughed when I FaceTimed him 13 times in a row. Then actually called me back. He met me when my skin was at its worst, my life a shithouse mess. I was a drunk that chain-smoked and chronically overate. Complained about my boss like it was a fulltime job. He saw something under it. Something good that he fell in love with.
He remained my best friend when we were together. And when we weren't. Then together again. We talked every day on FaceTime for six years until we lived inside the same walls. Now we encouraged each other over backrubs. He gave me more because I asked incessantly. It was the energy of the words running from his hands that really soothed my muscles.
"Give yourself the space to not explain," he said, because we both knew I'd been trying too hard. Thinking too much. Feeling not good enough at social media and success and all the stuff the world measured worth by. I was hung up on pic quotes and scheduling posts, draining my creativity into surface-level stuff.
And there he was, the P.I.C., flooding with gentle genius. To live lighter. Keep loving. And give myself permission to move with the crazy current of inspiration I often covered up so well. In things more distracting and less meaningful. Things utterly insignificant compared to the stories I had to tell.