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  • It Happens by Terri Falvey

    Often I look back and feel I’ve trained my whole life to be a parent. Because parenthood really is comprised of one after another perplexing and inexplicable event that you’re hazily sure at one point would have caused you to startle and not easily rebound, but as the years carve out the landscape like a gully, so, too, erodes your foundational sense of normalcy. And much like the infamous residents of Stockholm, acceptance begets a gauzy sense of affinity for the ones with which you cohabitate.

    Case in point: I was looking through some old emails recently and I chanced upon a correspondence from from 2006 in which I sent my new boyfriend (now husband) this rather unfazed monologue in response to his innocent (and soon regretted) inquiry of, how was the rest of your morning?

    Oh, me? I got home to find a pool of urine on the kitchen floor. How did I know it was urine? Because it was urine. Trust. Now, you might be saying, “ugh, that dog!” and, yes, I admit in a situation such as this, any normal dog owner would immediately assume blame to lie with the canine. a real open-and-shut case, right? Even a normal dog owner with roommates would place guilt squarely on the pup-in-question’s shoulders. But, alas, not I. For, as you well know, I share my house with a Steven. And it may come as no surprise to you that Steven will, at times, urinate in rather creative places.

    As I gazed upon the small pond just east of the pantry, I considered that perhaps one of the two were marking his territory. But Steven doesn't use the kitchen enough to warrant that, and I, myself, use it so infrequently that I hardly think he was attempting to top-dog me, as it were. Now, Sarah cooks a lot, but I've never sensed that bothered Steven in a way that would cause him to snarl or bare his teeth or make such an unsanitary choice by which to claim the domain for his own. Come to think of it, Melbourne either.

    So, here I was, nestled familiarly between my rock and a hard place. You see, I could not casually arouse and ask Steven if he might have happened to wet the kitchen floor anytime between the hours of 9pm and 9am and I could not, either, scold the fur-faced Melbourne for doing so if he had been simply playing the part of a concerned and utterly confused witness to a crime.

    So, in not knowing for sure whose nose to rub in the offending puddle, I wore my lateness as an albatross, sucked it up, and cleaned the mess. Melbourne himself stared on with a look of absolute innocence that I found very difficult to imagine he was up all night rehearsing in the mirror for just such a moment. Dogs have a way of being unable to hide their guilt. Their tails betray them. Albeit adorably so. At that moment, I subscribed fully to Mel’s innocence. Simultaneously, the early hour clouding my eyes–and perhaps my judgement–I felt seriously unsure if this unaffected, almost stoic manner in which I was crouched on my haunches mopping the floor with the exact amount of paper towels needed to provide a safe buffer between the flesh of my hand and the liquid in question--but not too many to feel wasteful--was a sign of my arrival at responsible adulthood or the universe’s mimicry of somebody resigned to live the rest of her days as an equivalent house mother to the gentleman of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

    Afterward, I went to my room to prepare myself for the day only to discover the answer to my morning queries. I stopped in my tracks for only a nanosecond to wonder at the lump that had clearly formed under my comforter. My mere presence in the room combined, perhaps, with the atmosphere-altering weight of my confusion, caused the lump to spring from the dormant position and take the form of Steven. Naked Steven. We then proceeded to act out a scene from what I feel could only be described as a Sam Shepherd-esque adaptation of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Wide-eyed and breathing erratically he squealed, "what the hell am I doing here?" Exasperated and eerily calm I retorted, "I have no idea, but I'm really late for work so can you get out of my room? Also, I'm pretty sure you peed on the kitchen floor, but I cleaned it up, so that's taken care of....I guess." At which point Steven displayed an element of modesty that I'm not at all used to, but was a rather welcome change, when he actually covered up his private parts and screamed "I'm naked!" as he streaked by me like a senior prank in motion.

    So, that's my Monday thus far.

    Oftentimes I feel the word "eventful" has far too positive a connotation.