Life With Livi (Episode #1 – A Lunch Date I’ll Never Forget)

” Babe! I can’t breathe!”
” You’re okay, honey… You’re okay… ”
” Oh god… Oh god… I feel like I’m gonna faint…”

There I was, standing in the middle of downtown Santa Cruz looking for something – anything. I personally have never been in a life or death situation before, but to be in a situation where the life of my own girlfriend was at risk? That put me in a completely different state of mind. Livi was stumbling so much that she grabbed onto my arm like it was a handrail. I could feel her body giving out. All I could say to myself was “Please… don’t die…”

What would I do if the love of my life died?

Six Days Earlier (On Facebook)

From: Ranier
To: Olivia *This is the exact same message I sent her*

Dear Olivia,

Lately, I know that things have been very hectic for you. School is stressful, work (although enjoyable) is eating up your time, and other bits of stress keep creeping into your daily life.

But I just wanted to let you know that if you ever need someone to speak to, I will always be here. If you need someone to cry to, I will always be here. I am madly, madly in love with you. More than you can ever know. Without you, the rest of my daily life seems so… blank. As if all the emotions in my life have been stripped away. Your love and compassion for me is the paint that brings my world to life. What we have, who you are, and your sheer beauty is a gorgeous painting itself.

I‘d like to ask you out on a date this Saturday. So long as our schedules are open, I’d love to take you out somewhere nice. You can dress up, I’ll put on something nice, and we’ll go out and have fun. You and I will eat GREAT food, listen to great music, and fall in love every second we’re near each other.

I‘m in love with you, Livi. This is OUR life, and we deserve the best.

We deserve each other.

With bursts of passion in each kiss, your future husband…


The Following Saturday

Being with Olivia is like owning a garden of flowers. With each new day comes something new for you to fall in love with. It’s as if she owns this everlasting supply of beauty that blossoms at night. One day I’ll notice her lips getting softer, and the next, her hugs feeling tighter. But on that Saturday afternoon, as soon as she opened that front door, I thought to myself “How the hell are you getting prettier and prettier each day?!?!

Having a relationship yields such a different lifestyle compared to the days of me being single. My single-years may have been tons of fun with a few days of epic-ness, but being with Livi is like that, but on steroids. Whenever we go out on a date (or anywhere for that matter – be it the drug store, or to get the mail) I always expect to be thoroughly entertained by our silly antics and crazy conversations.

Me: Babe, what if I introduced you as my “ebony girlfriend.” Like, what if I said “Hey guys, this is my ebony girlfriend, Livi.”
Livi: Ebony? What the! That sounds like you’re talking about a porno!
Me: Fine, I’ll call you my chocolate girlfriend! 😀
Livi: Milk Chocolate!
Me: Deal! And you can introduce me to your friends as your “yellow” boyfriend!

You see, when I was growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to make “childhood” friends. Most of my friends have faded away over the years. Even my best friends (who I’ve known since Middle School/High School) derailed into their own stratosphere. I guess you can say I was always a loner at heart. Coincidentally, Olivia’s situation was nearly identical. So what happens when two loners come face-to-face? EL PASSION!

Anywho, back to the story…

12:00 P.M – Olivia and I cruise through the hills of Santa Cruz, windows rolled up (so the wind doesn’t mess up her hair), listening to Sam Cooke’s “Portrait of a Legend” album. I’m still in shock at how gorgeous she looks. My eyes go back and fourth between the road, her face, the road, her lips, the road….

12: 50 P.M – We check into a kick-ass Brazillian Cafe that makes delicious bowls of Acai and fruit. We both shit in our pants with sheer joy and excitement.

1:30 P.M – After discussing the idea of a promise ring, I take Livi to my favorite Antique shop in Santa Cruz. Being that it’s a promise ring and not an engagement band, I figured I’d pick her up a nice ring that had lots of sentimental value and style. Unfortunately, we can’t find a damn thing. Instead, I get her a cute gold ring with pink jewels.

2:15 P.M – I realize that Santa Cruz people are a lot like San Francisco folks: organic hippies who love mother nature (but with less money and a lot less style.)

3:05 P.M – Livi is in desperate need of tasty food. Dinner plans are at 6:00 PM, but with her uber-fast metabolism, she’s fiending for some grub to fight off her tummy ache.

At Cafe Gratitude (getting a snack)

When you’re like me, and you reviewed over 100 restaurants within the past 3 years, you build a certain antenna for restaurant bullshit. There’s something in the salmonella scented air that just screams out “NO BUENO! NO BUENO!” This was one of those places.

For starters, it was entirely vegan: NO MEAT = NO LOVE! Secondly, Livi is incredibly allergic to any kinds of nuts (except for the ones you find on the streets of Santa Cruz, with their stupid dreads and shitty guitar skills) so, being that vegans substitute most of their ingredients for nuts, this made me exceedingly nervous. Lastly, the waiters had this look on their dumb faces as if  they’d been shot in the temperal lobe with a bb gun.

As our shared bowl of tomato soup came out, I felt a sliver of my dignity shoot down the toilet of my mind. “Is tomato soup supposed to look like this?” We took a spoonful of the soup and discussed.

Me: How do you like it?
Livi: It’s good! You?
Me: It’s nice! 🙂

Yea, nice: in the same way that hemorrhoids are nice. Just then, our greatest fear started to peak its way onto our table. First she started to scratch her throat. Then she took a few trips to the restroom. And just when I thought things were gonna be okay, she looked at me with a look of uncertainty and said “We have to go. Let’s just pay, and leave.”

It was happening. She was going into an anaphylactic shock. Pretty soon her throat would start to constrict, making it hard for her to breath. If worst comes to worst, she could even die…

” Babe! I can’t breathe!”
” You’re okay, honey… You’re okay… ”
” Oh god… Oh god… I feel like I’m gonna faint…”

As we frantically searched for the nearest drug store, I could feel Olivia’s nails digging deep into my wrist. She clung onto my arm as if it were an IV pumping life back into her lungs. With every vice like squeeze from her soft hands, I visualized her tiny throat closing just a little bit  more… and more… and more. If she were to collpase onto the cold concrete, what would I do? Scream out for help? Carry her to safety?

After navigating a maze of zombie-like Santa Cruzians on the street, we found a nearby CVS Drugstore and bought a pack of Claritin which had enough antihistamine to stop the allergy. Our plans for the day were canceled immediately. I rushed her back home so she could get some rest. My poor baby… she vomited profusely on our drive back home (in a bag, of course) and was feeling waay under the weather.

In the end, everything turned out okay. She got the care and attention she needed to recuperate, and the rest of our day was spent cuddling under her rainbow colored bedsheets while watching shitty T.V shows. It wasn’t what I had in mind, but to be honest, it was better. With her, everything is better.

I took this picture a few months back. We had just gotten over an argument and were holding hands.