It’s 3:00 a.m. and I am sitting in a cloud of stink. It’s nothing new to be surrounded by stink. I grew up with two brothers who, I was certain, farted just to torture me. Then I met Jordan. And Jordan has only one reason for farting. Whenever I ask why he has gas he says, “Because I ate food.”
Sometimes I feel like I exist in a cloud of his farts and I can’t remember what it smells like outside the fumes. He finds this hilarious. I don’t. But somehow, I still find him hilarious. The first time I laughed at his farts he didn’t even know I could hear them. We had just started dating and he was still trying to hide the fact that he farts. Whenever he was at my studio apartment, he would wait until I went to the bathroom before letting out all the gas he had been holding back. It cracked me up but I didn’t want him to know that I could hear him, so I shook with silent laughter behind the closed door until he finished. His routine was endearing to me. Not the farts necessarily, but the fact that he was trying so hard to be polite even though he had torrents of gas building in his gut.
Ironically, I am the one who “broke the barrier.” It was a pipsqueak of a fart, a dollop, a dat. You hardly even knew what it was. With Jordan, you ALWAYS know what it is. Sometimes he feigns surprise when he farts, other times the laughter bellows out of him in synch with the noises coming from his butt. Sometimes he farts just to let me know he’s there. A friend of mine told me adamantly that this kind of behavior isn’t normal but she grew up with three sisters. “Lucky her,” I thought at first. But quickly changed my mind, because, well, farts are funny. And if I have to put up with the stink that comes with them, so be it. I’ll take the laughter with nose plugs.
It’s a good thing I had this mindset when we brought Sam home from the hospital. She was just 3 days old and I hadn’t learned yet that I should wait until after she eats to change her. I didn’t know that when I feed her, she simultaneously makes room in her belly by filling her diaper. At 3:00 a.m., I am changing her for the second time in 20 minutes. I am lost in a sea of sleepiness and poo. I put a second diaper on her and just as I am fastening the tabs, she poops again, a third time, a nice big juicy dollop of poo.
Jordan must have heard her because he joined in too. I was once again enveloped in a cloud of gas. There was no avoiding it. Even on low, the window fan picks up whatever stench he throws in the air and carries it straight to me.
I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a comedian’s symphony, the sounds of family. I looked at Jordan on my right and then down at all 5 pounds and 9 ounces of Sam and thought, “So this is what it’s like to have a baby.”
Maybe it was that newborn scent, but I swear this time the gaseous cloud smelled a little sweet.