My friend, Linda, asked me to go on a cruise with her this summer. I’ve always wanted to go as a passenger instead of as staff; I’m working full time and have enough to make it happen. She picked out a trip in August, which works out great right after my 18th birthday.

When I said I’d go, I really didn’t even consider what Lou’s reaction would be. Not good. I don’t know why, but I assumed he’d be happy for me since I was so excited. He didn’t say a whole lot about it for a long time, and just got really quiet and sulky. When I asked what the matter was, he said nothing was wrong. But I could see in his face he was pissed about something. I pressed for the issue and soon found out.

He was upset that I would even consider going on such a trip without him. How could I say that I cared about him and still go away on vacation with a friend?  I countered that I didn’t think he could afford to go on a trip like that. Well, that was just the problem. Since he didn’t have the money to do it, then he felt I shouldn’t be spending my money that way either. He pointed out that he could barely afford to stay in school, never mind paying for gas and car repairs. I reminded him that I pay for gas just about every time, but he claims that’s not the point. In his opinion, if I have extra money, then I should be saving it for us, not going on a trip by myself. He totally freaked out in his dorm room, and started yanking everything out of the closet, ranting about how he doesn’t even have decent clothes that fit him. He pulled on a shirt to show how the sleeves are too short, so he always has to wear them rolled up, and then he tore it off with buttons flying, ripped it up, and threw it in the trash. I guess he has a point, but I committed to the trip and put down a deposit, and I intend to go.

We compromised when I agreed to start a joint savings account at the bank downtown next to Proctor’s Theater. They gave us a stuffed toy, Bucky Beaver, for opening the account. We both deposited some money, and Bucky sits on his bed as a constant reminder. I’m going to put in some funds from my paycheck every week, and he will do what he can when he has extra cash. I don’t know how I’m going to add to the savings and make the remaining payments on the cruise, but I’ll figure it out. He seems happy about the savings plan. They gave us cards to withdraw or deposit money at the bank or at the customer service counter at Price Chopper. We set an identification number that we enter on a keypad to prove it is our account. Our ID is 7684 to match S-N-U-G on the pad. I won’t forget that password, because we usually call each other pet names like snug, or snugs, or snugger, or snerg, or curd, or curdles, bird, birdles, nerd, nerdles, and an occasional turd. It all started one night when I was lying in his bed while he was studying at his desk. He always studies at his desk, and I prefer to lie on the bed or lounge in an armchair. One evening, I was reading in bed and wanted some company; I tried to coax him into coming up asking him to snuggle and cuddle with me. We started joking around and playing with the words. He called me a snuggler, and a cuddler. From there we just started rhyming a bunch of made-up words. It ended up sticking. So now, instead of Joey and Louie, we usually use one of those silly names for each other.

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