I am genuinely exhausted, and per usual, have a file full of drafts and no output. Blame this on an epically weird March that bleated in like a wee lamb, and roared out like Lambert the Sheepish Lion.
But as I try to resolve some things this week leading into Easter, I suddenly remembered this:
My cheating ex-boyfriend Bill had, at one point, had abdominal surgery. It had happened when he was a baby, and he had no memory of it. It had, however, left him with a ghostly but impressive scar across his stomach. In addition to the scar on his stomach, he had an abnormally perfect belly-button.
I was fascinated by this; am generally fascinated by belly-buttons. A little known fact about me is that I had a belly-button ring from the time I was 18 until the day I separated from my husband. Weird WASP that he was, he loved it. I think he thought it was somehow subversive. He had a diamond-and-sapphire in white gold belly-button ring made for me.
I don’t regret taking the jewelry out. But sometimes I miss that flash of sparkle on my torso.
Anyway, I think navels are fascinating. And I’m not sure what came over me one afternoon, but I somehow managed to convince Bill that his belly-button was…”fake.”
You know, I said, I am pretty sure that your belly-button is artificial. I mean, women who have tummy-tucks have fake belly-buttons made for them. I am sure that’s what they did to you. People who have abdominal surgery have fake belly-buttons made all the time.
The poor kid freaked. This went on for hours, with me explaining in excruciating detail about how he might’ve acquired an artificial belly-button, and how the doctors might’ve created one for him. I think I might have even told him about how some people are born without belly-buttons and how they have to create special navel cavities for those people.
(NB: that’s simply not possible. Everyone has a belly-button. You can lose your belly-button, but you cannot not have one.)
He eventually became so horrified that he called his mother to confirm whether his belly-button was, in fact, real — or whether it was even his original belly-button.
I was in the background cackling while he was on the phone and his saintly, bemused mother explained to him that the doctors had left his umbilical cord attached while they performed his surgery, so yes, he did have his original belly-button; no the surgeons had not had to fashion him a new one; and by the way, was he drunk?
The answer was: No, Ma, not drunk.
He got off the phone; was embarrassed and horrified; and that was the end of that.
This is what I do to men. I work them into the sort of frenzy where they become convinced that they’velost their belly-buttons. This is probably why I don’t date.
But as I come up on the one-year mark of the car accident, and Bill not showing up at my hospital bedside, and me finding out about his indiscretions, I have to say that there were funny some moments in that relationship.
We say that the rule in my house is that you don’t mess with me (it’s typically stated in a much more succinct and hostile way, but for the sake of ladylike discourse, we’ll state it thusly). And once I am messed with…well, hold on to your belly-buttons, boys!