Sometimes I call my woman, “Woman.” Sometimes her girlfriends call her, “Girl,” but she is not a girl. She is a woman. Only sometimes do I quote Billy Madison and say, “Don’t tell me my business, Devil Woman.” When I do say this, I say it facetiously. I hope she gets that.
I like to call her my woman, a la the Spanish, who, when they ask about your wife or girlfriend, ask, “¿Como esta tu mujer?” I know she’s not “my” woman, she is her own woman, but sometimes I like to think of her as mine and mine alone. I need her. Without her I’d be lost; she knows the layout of L.A. and all the shortcuts to get around traffic. This summer when we moved here, she took charge. She became my go-to-lady for everything, from organizing the move to handling the finances, which was her idea. We both knew I would probably mess it up.
It might sound sexist to call her “Woman,” but she is more of a woman than I am a man. Much more. She’s responsible, hard-working, and ambitious. She knows how to navigate the adult world. Me, I still call my mom when I’m feeling sick. My mom says, “You moved out of our house years ago. Take an Advil.” My woman says, “Baby, you lay down while I make you something hot.” My woman, when she feels sick, she makes her own chicken soup. I would make it for her but she doesn’t like it out of the can.
My woman does all this while changing the world. My woman is making a career out of helping others. My woman is a professional sweetheart. Seriously. She’s a social worker. She sits people down and listens to their problems. Me, I just try to emotionally support my woman and myself — in that order. Sometimes, I have enough energy left over to help my friends. My woman supports me, her friends, her family and complete strangers at the same time, even if it means she can’t take time for herself. This is why my woman takes baths. This is why sometimes my woman just has to lock herself in the bathroom and light sweet-smelling candles and get into a tub of hot water laced with salts that rejuvenate her skin.
She never calls me her “Man.” That would be too confusing because I haven’t earned it yet. She doesn’t live in a false world. She doesn’t need to quote movies or escape to the couch. She gets a kick out of reality. She calls me by my name. She calls me her soul mate, and I hope she’s right.
Chris Black lives with his wife in Los Angeles. He is a former associate editor at Black Clock and wrote feature articles on rubber duck races, birds of prey, and other mountain topics for The Vail Trail weekly.