I got my navel pierced when I was 18 years old, at some sleazy place in Toledo, Ohio where the dude who did it looked like Santa Claus and told me, with something akin to smugness in his voice, “Your belly button is crooked.” Then, after he shoved a fish hook through my skin to make room for the actual jewelery, I threw up. For years, my piercing annoyed me far more than it made me happy; no matter what I did and how religiously I cleaned it, the thing always seemed infected. Even when I switched out the generic metal (steel?) for gold, due to my sensitive skin (my ear piercings were forever infected as a child), I still couldn’t rely on my piercing being comfortable, attractive, and puss-free. So, at week 8 of this pregnancy, it was a great relief to me to have a real reason to remove the piercing: not only would it be uncomfortable when my belly got bigger, I simply couldn’t risk getting any sorts of infections.
Chris got his tongue pierced sometime back in his university years, a good 15 years ago. It’s pretty subtle, for being where it is, and people have worked with him for years before noticing that it’s there. So yesterday when he announced, “I’m taking out my tongue ring,” (why do we call it a ring when it’s a bar?) I thought he meant to clean it. Okay, I answered, wondering why he felt the need to share this intriguing tidbit with me. “No, I mean for good.” Oh, wow, okay, I said again, and this time my mind went immediately to the sort of thoughts that got me pregnant in the first place, except minus a tongue piercing.
I heard him toss something in the garbage bin, then he came strutting out of the bathroom completely naked and flopped down on the couch beside me. How that man dares nudity with eight unpredictable chihuahua talons flying random directions within our household at any given time is beyond me, but he does, and somehow he remains unscathed. “It feels weird,” he mused.
Then it struck me and I said: “No belly ring, no tongue ring, a new car, a two bedroom apartment, and a baby on the way. It’s like…”
“I know,” he finished, leaning over to rest his head in my lap, “We’re all grown up.”