Phase Two

We were in bed. The lights were out. It wasn’t work time. It was naked time. What are you doing? I asked impatiently as my boyfriend scrolled through his work email. I have to see about a woman I am trying to hire. You have to see about a woman laying next to you, I retorted. I’ve spent the last three hours with you, he said curtly. My heart did that weird kind of jump when you didn’t think you were being pathetic or nagging but his response indicates otherwise. But it’s bedtime. No working from bed! Pay attention to me! I thought but said alright and slowly laid down.

I turned to the window. City lights shown in. When are our blinds coming? I wondered. I turned back to him. He had put his phone on the charger and was making deep breathing noises indicative of sleep. We used to make out before bed. He would tell me how much he loved me and hoped I had the sweetest dreams. He would kiss me and try to snuggle me at least for a few minutes before I would squirm out. I have to sleep on my back, or I’ll get wrinkles! I’d protest. But now we just go to sleep? Lights out. Fucking Phase Two, I thought and closed my eyes.

I predicted this. You only act this way because we are in Phase One, I remember saying a few months ago. Me of many relationships. Me purveyor of romantic phases. Me whose adroit dating knowledge cannot be questioned. I don’t think so, he said brushing my hair back and kissing my face. That happens to some couples but not to us. I’m never going to go to stop wishing you sweet dreams. I knew better, but he had sounded so certain that I was almost, almost, convinced.

My boyfriend, like many a man, is a “thinking” type while I am a “feeling” type, so when I address a particular pattern of behavior that I “feel” has formed, he wants to know exact data points to support said feeling. To prove we had moved to Phase Two, I had no such data. I needed to collect proof that would indicate we were knee deep in the self-evident second stage he claimed wouldn’t exist. I needed specific dates and times that he fell asleep without saying goodnight. Times we weren’t romantic but should have been like before bed or when I wore a short dress. While he lay sleeping, I scrolled to the last page of my apps, where I keep Fandango and DuoLingo, opened my previously dormant Evernote app, and created a Notebook with an esoteric name: “Specifics of PT.” Before I say anything to him, I am going to gather data. By the time I sit down and talk with him, I’ll be armed with valid research that would show his “thinking” mind! Evidence indicating the existence of Phase Two.

The main problem with this sort of behavioral data collection is that it requires patience. In order to collect the data, I couldn’t address my unhappy “feeling” or I would invalidate the study. I had to wait days, maybe weeks and record each interaction. I had to store up information in order to identify the pattern and create the case for my conversation. I’m not known for this kind of calculated groundwork, but I can do anything I put my mind to, right?

The next day I got a text message from him saying that he cannot wait to see me later. He suggested we go to dinner. He was smiling when he got home from work and kissing me and kissing the dog who was wagging her tail and looking up at him adoringly. Do you see how much she loves me now? he said proudly patting her head. Just took a little time didn’t it? We walked to our favorite French place. It was reggae night. We shared mussels and talked about vacations. We went home and rearranged our apartment. When I crawled into bed, he closed his computer and slid his hands down my legs. I turned off the light.

I don’t remember if he said goodnight or not. I didn’t say goodnight, and I definitely didn’t tell him to have sweet dreams. I fell asleep. Not because we are in Phase One or Phase Two, but because I was blissfully sleepy. What makes a quicker goodnight so bad anyway? In Phase One Mia peed on his side of the bed. In Phase Two she cannot wait for him to come home and runs to the door every time she hears a man’s shoes.

This morning we got up early to go to the gym. (Note: Something we never did in the first phase as we wanted to spend every last minute in bed together.) While he was eating peanut butter, I grabbed my phone, opened my Evernote app and deleted the two-day old entry called “Specifics of PT.”


Emma Dinzebach