I thought I'd also post about the less-glamorous side of our relationship.This story took place a couple of years ago, very early in our relationship... and you'll see why Zeke is a keeper!
It was early summertime in the country. For me, that meant sleeping in, enjoying being done with school for the year, and starting a new job. Oh, and watering flowers when my mom asked. For Zeke, early summer meant "rolling beans" on his family's farm.
One night, after getting done with my long shift at my still new job, I wanted some good Zeke time. I was tired, but a good cuddle was completely necessary. I called him.
"Whatcha doing?" I asked.
"Working." My poor thing, I thought. He worked all day, and now it's ten at night, and he's still working. Now I had to go visit him.
"Are you sure you want to? It won't be any fun," was Zeke's encouraging response. But I wasn't having any of his unenthusiastic attitude. I was strong and tough and interested in the whole farming thing that was still a new adventure to me!
So out I went, to visit Zeke and keep him company in the tractor. I was excited. Even though we'd started dating almost a year before, I had yet to see him drive a tractor. Surprising, I know. Of course, I'd never ridden in a tractor, either. I mean, I sat in one at the county fair once...
I miraculously got to Zeke's house. Granted, it's only fifteen minutes from my own house, but those fifteen minutes entail a gravel road and poorly marked streets. And I'd only driven there once or twice before. And I have no sense of direction. I made it onto "the yard," meaning Zeke's driveway, and then gave him a call. He was out in a field somewhere.... my lack of spatial reasoning made it just about impossible for me to know exactly where.
"Where are you, honey?" I asked nervously. I hadn't thought about the fact that I would have to find a dark field that looked exactly like every other field in the area. I was too busy being worried about getting lost on the way to his house.
"I'm in the north field," he answered with that deep voice of his. "Just go toward the pasture where the horses are, then turn in at the first field driveway."
Yeah, like that made any sense to me. I start to panic. He's gonna think I'm a complete incompetent. That I have no idea where anything is. Well, I didn't have any idea. That part was true. But I didn't want him to know that....
"Um, well, I'm not sure that I can... Can you just come and get me?" I crossed my fingers and hoped that he'd just show up and keep me from inevitably getting horribly lost.
"Not really." He's a man of few words.
Just as I begin to realize, dread sinking in my stomach, that I'm going to actually have to find him myself, Zeke's dad came out of the house. Now, it was about ten thirty at night by this time. So I couldn't be truly surprised at what he was wearing. Which was nothing but a pair of jeans. Still, having only met the man like, three times before, I wasn't really prepared for that.
"Looking for Zeke?" he asked.
"He's in the north field." Zeke's dad is also a man of few words.
"Yeah, uh, I don't exactly know..." Now he's gonna think I'm an incompetent, too! I start blushing.
"I'll take you out there."
Whew! Well, despite his shirtlessness, I was eternally grateful to Zeke's dad. I followed him to the shop, where he got out...
Oh! I'm going to ride this thing, holding on to Zeke's dad's shirtless self. Oh. My. Gosh.
I get on, feeling uncomfortable with the fact that I was actually touching Zeke's dad. He's a very intimidating man. Trust me on this one. He's 6'5", and terribly quiet. The kind of quiet that makes you worry about what the person is thinking about you. Serious quiet.
To make matters even more interesting, it was my first time ever to ride a four-wheeler. We're now up to three firsts- first time in a tractor, first time on a four-wheeler, and first time seeing Zeke's dad shirtless. Quite the night.
So I blushed and blushed and prayed that I would block all this out of my memory someday (hasn't worked). The ride felt like it took forever, and I'm still not sure where the north field is to this day, because I didn't pay any attention on the ride there. I was too busy inwardly freaking out.
We finally got to the field, where Zeke was in a tractor pulling a thingy that looks a little like a tambourine. I'm sorry, an implement that looks like a tambourine. I thanked Zeke's dad again, thankful that the ride of awkwardness was over, then hoisted myself up into the cab of the tractor.
Now, a note to those of you who have ever thought of, or ever will, get into a tractor with a man. Tractor cabs are far from roomy. Especially with a large man occupying most of it. And they smell pretty bad. Like manure. Which is to be expected, but I wasn't expecting it.
Anyway, we rolled beans together in the tight little cabin for about two hours. Rolling beans basically means dragging the tambourine thing over the dirt to break up big clods and get the soil ready for planting beans. All that dirt clod breaking makes for a very very bumpy ride. Bumpy and dusty. Zeke made me drive the tractor a little. I giggled as I became airborne over the big clods. I got to snuggle up close to him and sit on his lap (there was nowhere else to sit). But when the third hour rolled around, I started to get a headache. But it wasn't bad. And I was tough and excited.
Until I started to feel genuinely ill. Throw-up ill. Apparently, my sensitive stomach becomes motion sick at about one in the morning when I bounce around in a tractor in the dark. Who knew? I held out, though. Because I'm tough. And I didn't want Zeke to know that, despite the fact that I'd really like to be tough, I'm actually a big baby.
At about 1:30 am, I asked Zeke if we could stop. He wanted to get the field done. He asked if I could hold out for a half hour, then we'd be back at his house. It wouldn't take that much longer. And I, still wishing to be tough, even though I felt so tired and sick I could cry, lied and told him I'd be just fine. I was still trying to convince him that I was tough.
I don't remember terribly much of that half hour, probably because I was focused on not ralphing in the tractor.
True to his word, Zeke got that field done after only a half hour. He parked the tractor and helped me out. I will not throw up, I will not throw up was my mantra. Zeke turned back to the tractor and fiddled with something (don't ask me, I have no idea what he was doing), and when he saw me still standing there, he said, "You can go outside if you want to, you know."
And so I did. I sat outside the door of the shed, and the fresh air did me some good.
But not enough good. Right as Zeke was walking out of the shed, I threw up. Puked, ralphed, up-chucked, tossed my cookies.
Great, I thought. Very attractive. Just go ahead and vomit all over your boyfriend's grass. Fantastic. I blushed. Zeke came and sat down next to me. I patted his knee and told him I was okay. He laughed at me for comforting him when I was the one getting sick.
And after I had my little vomit-fest, I felt much, much better. Zeke took me into his house, where I fell fast asleep on his bed. After about an hour, he woke me up and asked me if I wanted him to drive me home. Of course, by now I was doing just fine. But he was so sweet to me, despite the disgusting situation he'd just witnessed me in, that I thought, Maybe he won't leave me after all. Maybe I can't scare him away. I mean, if vomit didn't do it, what would?
The next day he called me, to check up on me, and also to tell me that he was pretty sure that he'd just seen the farm dog, lovingly named Dog, eating all the evidence from the night before.