Manhattan blues (Part 3)
When I returned to my seat, I slowly sat down and could feel the urine shift throughout my diaper. “What have I done,” I thought to myself.
While I looked at my food, Stella stared at me and looked down at my crotch. In the back of her mind, she had an idea of what happened. This wasn’t a little dribble into my training pants like I’ve had at home. No, this was a full fledged wetting accident. As the urine cooled around me, I had a sinking feeling that I was losing something very important. When a child achieves potty training they feel like they’ve become somewhat adult like. They’re a big boy. They can do something that adults do. Reverse that and think about it for a moment.
I sat there feeling like my adulthood slipped away in only a few short minutes in the hallway of a dimly lit Italian restaurant in midtown Manhattan. It’s all about control and I was slowing losing most of it. Not only had I accepted wearing a diaper “just in case,” as my wife said, but I promptly used it.
After a few more nibbles of pasta, it was clear that it was time to go. I looked over and the bill had already been paid.
“Are you all finished sweetie? We’re going to stop at a café on the walk back for dessert, so maybe you should leave some room.”
Stella helped me put on my jacket. I looked up and I could see she was distressed a bit. She took a couple of sniffs. We made are way to the exit. Joel and Sarah walked out and Stella quickly turned and pulled out another diaper from her pocketbook.
“Quick. Go to the bathroom and change yourself. You smell like you peed yourself. Are you ok?”
I didn’t say a word. I was grateful that Stella had brought another one. The soggy diaper was beginning to take its toll and I knew it. I grabbed the diaper and this time walked right into the bathroom.
Inside I stripped off my shoes and then my pants. The diaper slipped off quite easily and fell to the floor with a plop. I through it right in the pail and then slipped on the new one. It felt much more comfortable. Pulling on my pants and shoes was another project. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my laces tied right. I stepped out of the bathroom and looked up at Stella.
“Can you tie my shoes please, there’s something wrong with them,” I said. I knew darn well, that I was losing my ability to tie my shoes. My little fingers couldn’t curl the loop and tie it correctly.
Stella bent down and tied my shoes. I looked around and saw a few people staring. I felt embarrassed again. Here I was, 35 years old and having my wife tie my shoes. Well, at least I was able to change my own diaper.
We stepped out into the cold.
“Everything ok?” Joel asked.
“He just had trouble with his shoes,” Stella said, once again covering for me.
We walked two blocks and finally found a quaint café. Inside the smell of teas, coffee and hot coco permeated the air. The room was full of mostly adults at this hour and I could see a few glances at me from people who didn’t like the site of a child in their midst.
We sat down and ordered. Joel went to the bathroom and Stella struck up a nice conversation.
“Hey – Tell Sarah about your friend,” Stella said.
“I don’t want too.”
Stella proceeded to tell the story about Eric. He was a nice guy I met at the Beth Israel support group. Eric was a few stages ahead of me, but we were the same age, so we grew close in the group. A tough businessman, Eric contracted AR shortly after a business transaction with a Kenyan firm. He doesn’t often travel overseas, and somehow thinks he came in contact with the virus when opening his mail.
Each week we’d get together during the breaks at the support group and talk about how crazy our wives had become. His wife, Karen was already shopping for baby supplies. He hated it. We talked about running away and even devised a little plan to skip out of a support group meeting, but we knew we never would. The whole process of ARing was too difficult and we needed our wives, no matter how much we hated it. One day during a break at the support group, I could see the slight bulge of a diaper through Eric’s pants. He wrinkled up his face showing the pain and humiliation when I asked him about it. Karen was so enthusiastic for Eric’s return to babyhood that she bought him some oversized pampers. “Just in case,” Eric said. Eric said he put up a fight, but Karen would have none of it.
“I can use the bathroom. Really,” he said. Shaking his head and wagging his finger.
“I know you can,” I said, making him feel a little better.
What Eric didn’t relay was that he and Karen had been trying to have a child for more than a year. When they discovered Eric had contact with the AR virus, Karen was distraught. She saw a psychologist on her own and after a while she was convinced that her husband would eventually be her new son. The days and weeks and months passed, Eric grew younger, Karen grew more strict. First she limited his television viewing to PBS and some cartoons. Eric fought at first, but then began to like the furry characters on PBS and even some of the cartoons. Karen would watch him from the kitchen, patiently awaiting his return to babyhood.
I noticed his return to toddlerhood first. It was very simple signs that he was growing to young to control himself. We sat for group discussion once when I watched his hand slowly rise to his mouth. He stopped himself a few times, but eventually the comfort and the pleasure of sucking his thumb must have overcome his desire to be an adult.
Then the temper tantrums kicked in. When Karen took away a lollipop he was sucking on, he went ballistic. They left the room and returned clearly looking like she had put him in his place. I’m guessing he had a very sore behind.
Then at another session, we got together to talk after break. He kept fidgeting as if he was uncomfortable. We tried to talk about how our wives were doing, but I think he had trouble understanding me. “I like Spongebob Squarepants!” he said, before putting his thumb in his mouth. I shook my head and walked away wondering if I was just looking at a preview of coming events. When we sat down for the session, that’s when I think Eric took his final leap to babyhood. Eric usually sat next to me. I looked over and saw his face turn bright red as he clearly pushed a soft load into his diaper, then the poopy smell drifted over. I turned to Stella and whispered “Stella, Eric really stinks.” Stella’s eyes grew wider and she looked over a Karen, making the PU signal with her hand. Karen smiled and whisked Eric away.
The next time I saw Eric he was crawling on all fours. He and Karen came to the support group for a quick visit. He looked up at me and I wondered what this former businessman was possibly thinking. I wondered what I would be thinking. I looked over at Karen and she was clearly glowing. A diaper bag was slung over her shoulder. She finally got what she wanted.
“Honey, what’s wrong with you. Stop playing with your ice cream,” Stella said to me, waking me from my state of meditation.
The café was busy. I drank some of my hot coco and finished a large dollop of chocolate ice cream before Joel signaled for the check.
(To be continued)