"Oh, my god. He's just so precious," Kate said as she propped herself up against my cubical. "And you're right. He doesn't look much like his pictures."
Cayden will be the first person to admit it: He's not photogenic. And by "not photogenic" I mean he's probably the least photogenic person I've ever met. It's not that he looks awful in pictures, he just looks... different. He looks completely different in every single photo. And when someone says "smile!" he panics and plasters on this awkward half smile that looks like half his mouth is paralyzed and the other half is full of food. The concept of smiling for photos completely baffles him.
"I know, right?" my coworker Laine said as she swiveled around in her chair. "He looks so much smaller in pictures. I always thought he was smaller than you."
"Lord no," I said. "Dude's a beast. His waist might be smaller than mine, though. He's got these huge muscly arms, shoulders and chest and then this little, tiny perky butt. So weird. He's like Sulley from Monsters Inc."
They both tilted their chins to one side while they tried to compare the two.
"That's pretty accurate," Laine said while Kate nodded her head in agreement.
"But he's so cute! And that accent!"
Everyone was in agreement that his accent was downright adorable.
"But I don't know how you do it," Kate said. "I mean, I know I've only been talking to Topher for a little while, but it's killing me that I can't hang out with him. I mean, just to give him a hug... Ah, that would be so nice."
I knew the feeling all too well. It's like being stranded in a desert and all you want is a drink of water. The webcam is just a mirage. You can see it, but you can't get to it. Can't touch it. Can't drink it. That comparison might be a bit dramatic, but that's really the best way I can describe it.
"Yeah. It's a bitch," I said. "But if you two keep talking, at least that means you and I can bitch about it together!"
I couldn't tell if she wanted to slap me or hug me. I knew she loved talking to him and getting to know him, but the emotional strain of the distance was already weighing on her.
"Just jump on a plane and fly over there," I suggested. "It worked for me."
"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about it."
The rest of the day dragged on and I didn't even have chats from Cayden to entertain me. He'd gone to see the new Mission Impossible movie with Dad, Corbin and Jay.
It was Emory's turn to distract me while I built a Facebook contest.
"So...." he said, wheeling his chair closer to mine. "It's official. We're moving in together."
"SHUT UP. Are you serious??"
It hadn't been six months since I accidentally hooked him up with Jennifer, and now they were moving in together. Well, I guess that's one way to ring in the new year.
"When you just know... why wait?" he'd said to me a couple months after meeting her. Would I have done the same thing if Cayden had lived on this continent? Damn right.
"Yeah, I got out of my lease and we're moving into a bigger loft in her complex. I'm moving downtown."
He had a chill way of delivering the news, but I could tell he was downright giddy. I was both happy for them and jealous of them. Although it was only a few couples (Rae and Chaz, Joyce and Joey, Emory and Jennifer) I felt like every couple in the entire world had moved in together in 2011 and Cayden and I were still thousands of miles apart. I still had at least another five months until his potential move over in May, and those five months were going to inch along at a snails pace if everyone else's relationship was on the fast track. Cayden and I may as well have been moving farther apart.
"Well, I'm super excited for you two," I said, with a genuine smile on my face. "Take notes for me and let me know what I should expect when Cayden and I finally get to be roommates."
I'd already started taking notes from my friends experiences and from Cayden's visits.
- You both can't be right all the time. One of you needs to cave or neither of you is getting laid.
- Don't leave three seconds on the microwave. Either clear it or let it countdown to zero. That little red glowing three might not bother you, but it might be the worst part of his day.
- Don't leave your shoes out where they can be tripped on. One stubbed toe and you're to blame for everything that went wrong that day/week/month (depending on how many toes were stubbed during the incident)
- Don't try to pretend like you don't poop. Everybody poops and when you live together there's no way of avoiding it without severe abdominal pain.
- Take time apart. Just because you live together does not mean you have to spend every waking minute attached at the hip. Go for a drive. Run your errands by yourself. Give yourself time to miss him/her.
Feel free to add your own notes in the comment section below! If I get enough comments, I might create a full blog post dedicated to living-together tips.