From the first day I met Patrick, I knew I would spend the rest of my life with him. It took a while for him to realize it, but the bottom line is, he did.
And I remember the day.
It was a year and a half before we were married. I was managing his reggae en español band and we had a Memorial Day gig in Rocky Point, Mexico. The first day, he wore his favorite green, yellow, and red headband that some famous reggae star had given him. It was very windy that weekend, and Patrick offered it to me to restrain my wild, curly locks. I accepted and took this gesture as his secret code of “Yes, I am in love with you too". I put the headband on and didn’t remove it for the rest of the weekend.
Because it was a holiday, Rocky Point was crawling with drunken college kids that paid no mind to any kind of personal hygiene. When the last morning arrived, the band members loaded up the equipment in our vehicle – an unconditioned food delivery truck that Patrick’s dad had lent us. Aside from the front two seats, the truck was empty. Most of us had to sit in the hot steel box the way up and back. But the truck was free for us to use, and we liked that.
I wanted to freshen up before we left. I went into the nearest bathroom and was disgusted by it’s condition. It hadn’t been cleaned in days and stank worse than a chicken farm. I tiptoed through the water on the floor to reach the faucet.
I took off the headband to splash water on my face, but I must have done it too fast because Patrick's beloved headband flung off my fingers and landed inside the toilet that had not been flushed.
There was no way I could go back to the truck and say to my future betrothed, “Sorry my love, I dropped your favorite headband in the toilet!”. What would Patrick say? I plugged my nose and peeked at the damage. The headband was still dry, it appeared to just be resting on the side of the bowl. So I picked up a comb carefully fished it out. I dropped it in the sink, squirted soap on it and used the comb to “scrub” it until it lathered. I was in a panic and jumped when I heard Patrick holler for me.
“Kathy!, Come on, we're waiting for you!" he yelled from the truck outside.
I grabbed the one unused paper towel in the room, blotted the headband and ran to the truck.
"Hey, gimme my headband back, I need it now, it's going to be a hot ride home," Patrick demanded.
"Here ya go!", I said as I tossed it to him. I jumped in the truck and chewed on my nails, as if I had nothing better to do. Patrick put on the headband, snapped it in place on his sweaty forehead and climbed on the truck.
I thought I was off the hook. But an hour into the drive, I noticed a faint dirty diaper smell.
“Oh no…” I thought.
As each minute passed, the stench grew stronger. What made it worse was that it was May in Arizona, and the heat was evil. So evil that I couldn't tell if it was just in my paranoid head or if the headband was coming back to haunt me, like a ghost with unfinished business. It wasn’t my imagination. Soon, all the band members eyeballed each other as if to say, “Did you have an accident and not tell us?”
The smell was beyond unbearable. I wanted to gag, but I didn't want to draw attention to myself. Still, no one said anything out loud.
Finally, Patrick did. "What is that smell?!" he said angrily.
The band members chimed in unison - "I don't know, man!, I didn’t do it! Where can it be coming from? Did anyone bring food back? Did someone fart?"
Patrick sniffed and sniffed around the air like a hound dog detective. His head rotated in a large circle with more mini-sniffs. He stopped, but his eyes darted around the truck. Then he looked down, sniffed and looked up, and sniffed again. He ripped off the headband and yelled, "It's ME!"
I scrunched my knees up to my chest and buried my head.
"KATHY! What did you do to my headband?"
I caved. "I'm sorry!" I cried out. "It fell in the toilet back there and I fished it out and tried to wash it but I guess it didn't work very good! I know the famous reggae guy gave it to you and I didn't want you to get mad, so I didn't tell you! I thought it was clean!"
No one said a word, but the bass player/driver pulled over so Patrick could dispose of the ca-ca infested accessory and wash his head. The remainder of the trip I had to listen to the band lecture me on the dangers of germs.
What ever! It was a simple, honest mistake made out of puro amor para mi hombre.
So how did I know Patrick loved me? He was only mad for the next couple hours. When he dropped me off at my house after our trip, he smiled and gave me a big bear hug. He lifted my chin, laughed and said, “Girl you are something else!” My stomach did the flip flop thingy and I promised to crochet him a new red, yellow, and green headband.
I knew at that moment he was secretly in love with me. I was right! After we got married and compared notes, he admitted it!
Little did he know that the headband story was a sign of more drama to come...This March is our 20th anniversary!
Crafty Chica’s Lesson Learned: Love is like a craft project. The glitter will give you goose bumps and that hot glue gun burn will leave a scar. But there is no way to brag about the result unless you experience both pleasure and pain.
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
P.S. Check out my new book and product line!