I arrive home after a day of hard work, which is not a complete oddity for me, but perhaps not the norm either, and my boyfriend is not home yet. This is the way it is. As a scientist, he puts in many hours to get desired results. We have been cohabitating since the beginning of June, and what a great relief it is (after coming home alone day after day to a rather damp apartment, crowded with two dogs and a cat, me and an ugly tan rug) to know that someone will always be coming home to me, or might be already there. Our differences in lifestyle - everyone's - generally take longer to interpret than the immediately exciting things we have in common. J and I first bonded over a discussion of a Yo La Tengo album in a weight room at a hotel after a wedding, in utter disbelief that we had not met previous to that night... But we live together now, and I come home, and am hungry. We disucss, perhaps, dinner as an option, but J has a distant look in his eyes. He wanders from room to room, and since we live in a house the size of 7 or 9 of my old apartments, I stray from room to room too, but never quite keeping up and never quite knowing where he has gone. "Dinner?" I wonder aloud. People come over to watch a movie. Nothing has been accomplished on the eating front, so two hours later, after placing cold beers in our friends' hands, J and I finally sit down to eat. We make something together. While he is finishing I see the look and he mutters..."tired..." - he is adorable with very blue eyes and slightly messy dark hair. "Oh no," I say. "No." Because I know him and what is coming. He will fall asleep on the counter. He will fall asleep on the counter with all of his clothes on and when I try to move him he will say, "No baby, I'm not ready to go to bed yet." Really? Because falling asleep in whatever one's surroundings might be would indicate a sort of perpetual readiness for bed, wouldn't it? I've seen this, I'm not kidding. He falls asleep in the car almost directly upon buckling up - when someone else is driving of course. On long drives he regularly bolts upright asking, "You ok, baby? Are you too tired to drive? Is everything ok?" and before I can answer, he's drifted off again, muttering nonsensical things. I'm not one to stick to strict regimens, per se, but I do enjoy going to bed with the lights and television off, my pajamas on, and to have the person next to me stick to the same guidelines. J challenges me nightly, and I'm up for it. We have grown, actually, to understand eachother's eccentricities. And as many times as I've had to yell "Take them out! CONTACTS OUT OF YOUR EYES!" or reached over to turn his light off to his surprise (Want to fall asleep with all your clothes and shoes on? Fine. That's what you get), there is something wonderful in waking up with him there, or having him come home after a late night and I've already fallen asleep. I don't mind having someone to take care of - and I'm taken care of in return. And the things in common still outweigh everything, perhaps the most overpowering the fact that we both like what we've got together. Spent an afternoon driving around recently, listening to some of our favorite music, singing out the windows, screaming even. Two peas in a pod. Two nightstands, two lamps. One on, one off.