I went out tonight for dinner with an ex-boyfriend. He was my first love, actually; we dated from age 17 to 20. We’ve become pretty close friends again in the last few months, and we go out for a meal together every few weeks. Tonight we were belatedly celebrating our birthdays, which are close together. At dinner, he had questions about my food restrictions and how careful I have to be. I explained about the food allergies but then went on to explain about celiac disease, as well, and how gluten can hurt a person with celiac even if he/she doesn’t realize it.
“Wait,” he said. “Are you saying you’ve had this all along?”
“Yep,” I said with a wry smile.
“Well, that sucks.”
“It does and it doesn’t. Sometimes I think, Wow, if I’d only known earlier, I could have saved myself these years of feeling bad. But when I was in college, or when I was younger in general, I wasn’t good about taking care of myself. And eating gluten-free tends to be a lot more expensive, so that would have been a major stressor to add to my life [at a time when I was really poor]. So this discovery kind-of happened exactly when it needed to, exactly at a time when I was capable of dealing with it.”
“That makes sense.”
“Yeah–you know, that’s why I always had an upset stomach when we were dating.”
“Oh yeah!” he said, as if it were as clear a memory as if it had happened yesterday.
You know you had an upset stomach a lot if your former boyfriend remembers it eight years later. . . .