This is a story of facing adversity. This is a story of suffering. Of, when everything seemed bleak, rising to the occasion to defeat the odds. Of holding your head high and powering through the pain. Of overcoming. Of moving on and learning to live again, stronger. This is the story of Bark Butt.
It was Valentine’s Day this year. Well, that’s all wrong; it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, but it was a few days after Valentine’s Day and it was in the spirit of a Valentine’s Day celebration. Accurate details are important; my readers know how I like to portray my stories as realistically and as absolutely close to the truth as possible.
So it was a Friday and I woke up looking as flawlessly beautiful as ever, with a natural healthy glow to my face and radiant perfect flowing waves in my hair. I floated out of bed and began humming a song I composed on the spot, and my cat Esmeralda, a couple bumblebees, and some fruit flies flitted around me and dressed me in a random yet totally banging outfit. And then I was off for the day!
Anyway. So my boyfriend Bryson and I were celebrating Valentine’s Day a couple days late because actual Valentine’s Day was inconvenient for our schedules.
We started Belated Valentine’s Day at a breakfast restaurant, as we are chronic breakfast people. I say that just as seriously as I do jokingly; I’m not kidding, it’s come to a point in my life where my consumption is predominantly breakfast items. On any given day, I could eat waffles for breakfast, a bowl of cereal for lunch, and eggs and toast for dinner. That’s just what my life has become; probably because breakfast is the most convenient but also the funnest meal of the day. But anyway. We’re both in the breakfast business so we enjoy a good breakfast meal.
Breakfast was good, though. I probably had pancakes, a biscuit, and some home fries because that sounds like something I would do. I’m very capable of engorging myself in the early hours of the day because I’ve had years of practice, years of my mom saying she can’t interact in a civilized manner before her bowl of Cheerios, years of Poptarts before the bus, years of pancakes on Sunday morning. So my family trained me to eat in the beginning hours of the day long before I knew breakfast was my calling. (I’m starting to think that the Bark Butt story is really just a cover for me to talk about my love affair and history with breakfast.)
So, after breakfast, Bryson and I went to the mall, where we went shopping. Any boyfriend who will willingly go shopping with you at least once a year is a keeper, and any boyfriend who will pick out things and buy them for you is just plain and simple probably an alien from another planet sent to spy on you because that shit is too good to be true. Men never care about “women’s” stuff, and if they do, they’re usually gay. But I did something right along the way because Bryson bought me a couple of super cool clothing articles, and then we even went and picked him out a couple things.
Bae and I were looking fly, but we still had part of the day left. We were going to dinner at a sushi place later, but we weren’t totally hungry and it wasn’t quite late enough for dinner, so we decided to go on a little hike–a stroll through the woods–to work up an appetite and enjoy the sunny, relatively warm February day.
After a little research and navigational practice, we arrived at some location by a bridge and set off along the path. Hand in hand, we meandered along the paved trail and gazed at the sights around us–the gentle river beside us, the massive bridge cutting across the sky high above us, the dipping golden sun behind us. A couple runners passed us, but for the most part is was relatively unpopulated and we enjoyed a fair amount of privacy.
The path eventually transformed into a dirt path, and–it being February–that meant there was mud involved. We were both wearing worker boots; Bryson’s were legit worker boots while mine were a cheap fashion knock-off of worker boots, but when you’ve got a part-time worker wage, you have to go with the partial-costing worker boots. Bryson was concerned about getting mud on his boots, but for the most part we were able to dodge the bad spots.
As we like to do, we then ventured off the path and began ascending a leafy hill. I believe there was laughter involved, as there usually is when we spend time together, but the next memory I have is of us climbing up a tree. Remember, this was several months ago, and so the long grind of time has skewed my memory in some ways. Much like how rivers erode landscapes after millions of years, these couple of months have been abrasive and wearing on my mind.
We scrambled up this tree. (Did somebody say scrambled??) The tree had a branch that extended horizontally, so we climbed over to that and sat along it, gazing into the sun and talking about whatever February topics were going on at the time. It was a lovely scene, and lovely company, and I was very happy in that moment, reflecting on the generous boyfriend I had, who had gotten me roses and chocolates and a balloon and wrote me a letter and had done all these amazing things for me, but most of all I was just blessed to have someone so incredible care so much about me, and to see it in his eyes and feel it from his heart.
Then the bark buttening happened.
It was so beautiful a moment that the contrast of what was about to happen next is almost comical. (Almost.) So once we were done absorbing nature for the day, we decided to head back. Bryson jumped down from our branch, and turned around, telling me to jump and he would catch me. It wasn’t that high up by any means, but it was maybe a good seven or eight feet off the ground on the side of a hill, so the ground wasn’t necessarily far away but it was also not close.
“Jump! I’ll catch you,” he said, arms up.
I hesitated though. It felt so far away…
“Are you sure?” I asked.
He reassured me, but I still felt no confidence in jumping. So, rather than leap from the branch into his arms, I decided to do more of a sliding technique into his arms, and, well…
I slid down off the branch and onto him, and he caught me for the most part but we stumbled a bit on the landing, and all was okay, but…
As I was brushing off the seat of my jeans from sitting on the tree, I noticed an excess of tree dandruff on my butt. I patted it away, but my lower back stung a little bit–from my butt grating along the tree as I slid off–and so I went to rub that and noticed again even more bark.
At this point, Bryson and I began walking back towards the car and I hadn’t said anything yet, because I didn’t want to be wrong for not jumping, because he was still saying, “Should have just jumped!” but I was pulling handfuls of bark out of the back of my shirt. Then, as we were walking, I noticed an odd texture in my pants and reached my hand into the back waist band of my underpants and scooped out some bark. Then I got really uncomfortable because I could feel even more bark rummaging around in my underwear, and at that point it was too much of an elephant for me to not speak up about, and we all know how I love a good laugh at myself, so I said, “Uh, babe… I have so much bark in my pants right now, like…”
I don’t remember his reaction, but I’m certain he laughed at me. In fact, if his immediate reaction wasn’t to laugh at me, then I’m not sure we’re meant to be because that shit was definitely funny. He kept laughing at me and I kept pulling bark bits out of my pants and we even had to stop for a couple minutes for me to do some serious excavating. Along the way, I acquired the name “Bark Butt,” because, well, I guess it takes no stretch of the imagination to understand that one.
The bark wouldn’t end though! It was like one of those magic tricks with the rainbow handkerchief that the dude in the top hat keeps pulling and pulling and pulling out of his sleeve. The bark well did not runneth dry. I just kept finding it! I could even feel little bark particles shifting their way down my pant legs. I’m not sure how, mathematically, or even physically, that much bark fit in my pants, especially considering that there probably wasn’t even as much bark on the whole tree than I pulled out of my underwear.
Anyway, it was funny, and then we went to dinner. I really had to pee, so after we were sat at this really nice sushi place (that we were able to afford, and were prepared for the prices), I scurried off to the bathroom, where I continued my excavation of my underwear and cleared away almost all of the rest of the bark. (“Where is this all coming from?” I whispered to myself as I flicked bark particles out of the seat of my jeans.)
But, dinner was lovely, and my date was lovely, and on the drive home I was not at all too distracted by my Bark Butt that I ran any red lights or committed any other foolish and negligent traffic law violations, and we met up with another couple and went to a couple bars, one of which we danced at, and I effectively shook out the rest of the bark.
And that, my friends, is how I came to be known as Bark Butt in smaller circles. The Legend of the Bark Butt. The Great Bark Butt Mistress. The Queen of Butt Bark. Actually, the only person to know about this until now is Bryson, who has really done a good job at keeping this a fun story between the two of us, until I, you know, exposed myself, and cracked this story wide open to invite the entire world to laugh at me with us. But the Bark Butt Day will always be a special day between Bryson and me– a day of romance, enjoyment, and a trouser-full of tree skin.