Have you ever had the world suddenly dog pile a million emotionally charged items on your plate? I suffered through and barely finished an accelerated class over the summer. I got a two week break, during which time my oldest child decided to move 400 miles away (great for the kid, proud but weepy mama) and my boss literally turned on a "nitpicking faucet" which quickly turned a career I love into a job I dread. Eric is traveling more than ever and I start school again in less than 48 hours.
Friday, I was supposed to meet with my boss to iron out a project that isn't going well. I prepared for a solid week so I would have every bit of information he'd require. I also pulled data for the year (more than doubling the sales goal he had set) in order to show him the progress my department has been making. He changed the meeting time. It almost tanked me. I met Eric in the driveway just as he has about to leave for the airport.
"Hey pretty girl," he said when I jumped in his car. He leaned over and gave me a kiss. My eyes suddenly welled up with tears and I bit my lip, staring forward out the window.
"Don't do that," he said sternly. "Amy. Look at me."
I shook my head, fighting to hold back actual tears.
"You can't do this now," he said matter-of-factly. "If you go in to take a stand and start to cry, you'll lose all credibility."
I nodded but refused to look in his direction. I know this, but when I'm passionate about something, I tear up. It's not planned. It's not even welcomed. It's what happens.
Eric sighed. He checked his watch.
"Hey," he softly touched my knee. "I know it's not fair but that's the way business works."
I turned to look at his bright blue eyes and warm face; my lower lip began to quiver.
"Get in the house!" he snapped, pushing the door open and then slamming it behind him.
I didn't know what had just happened. He grabbed my arm as soon as I exited the car and pulled me toward the garage.
"What are you doing?" I squeaked, feet fumbling along to keep up with him.
"You know darn well what I'm doing," he snapped again, shutting the door and steering me into the kitchen.
"Take your position," he said pointing to the counter and unbuckling his belt.
I was shocked. I didn't do anything wrong. If anything, I was being overly productive and the world was treating me badly.
Eric's cheeks were flushed with frustration, his belt dangling in his hand; when he looked up and saw me falling apart before his very eyes.
"I don't want a spanking," I whispered. His face softened.
"I know you don't sweetheart," he said gently. "But you really need one."
Eric bent me over the counter and I heard his belt in the air just before it landed solidly on my right cheek. I squeezed my hands together and placed my forehead on my thumbs while breathing through the pain. He was relentless. He's always been loving and gentle but this time, he wasn't going to stop until I was bawling. The belt flew and flew. My ass burned and stung, each strike searing the prior one in place. Suddenly, I broke down and was sobbing. Eric pulled me into his arms and let me soak his shoulder with tears.
"We're not quite done," he said, leading me over to the horrid corner in the living room. "I have to go but I want you to stand here for ten minutes and get your game face on. When you go back to work, you had better be strong and you had better advocate for yourself or so help me, when I get home on Monday..."
Eric kissed each eye and then turned me toward the corner.
"Game face!" he said and was gone.
I allowed myself to cry in that spot until there wasn't a single drop left. Then I cleaned up and went to work to face the demon.
The boss didn't care what I had to say, nor was he impressed with my sales. But I didn't lose my cool and I didn't tear up or cry or get even the littlest bit weepy.
Eric is gone the whole weekend. I think I'm going to hit the road and take a long ride in the car.... assuming I can handle sitting across the miles!