The Big Bean is one of my favorite people in the world.
And last night, he almost killed me with his toenails.
For years I’ve joked about his poor foot grooming habits, complaining (mostly in jest) that the nails were too long and too strong, the jagged bits dangerously sharp (but probably convenient when climbing). I’ve called him names like Fred Flintstone and Tarzan. I’ve asked him to fetch me a bunch of bananas from the tallest tree in the forest. I’ve even laughingly speculated that his gnarled talons could be used as weapons, suggesting he try his luck in a cockfight.
It was all in fun. It was all just jokes.
But I’m not joking anymore, y’all.
Last night I was sound asleep, lost in happy dreams when the man I love moved beside me, shifting for a more comfortable position. As he adjusted, one hirsute, briery foot grazed the back of my leg. I woke to the pain of a craggy, serrated shiv attempting to slice – yes, slice – across my Achilles’ tendon. I cried out in shocked terror.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” he squawked, immediately realizing the enormity of the situation. He knew, with that one quick movement, the dangers we’d both just faced: mine, Death by Toenail; his, a lifetime of tragic guilt.
If he’d been just a *few* inches closer, pushed just a *little* bit harder, those hairy, malformed claws could have pierced *right* through my skin. An artery could have been punctured. I could have bled out before he reached 911. In my shaken mind, the story plays out…
The paramedics arrive to find a grisly scene: my legs, cold and paled by death, jut out from beneath the covers, drenched in blood; the Big Bean, head in hands at the edge of the bed, stares blankly at his wooly, leathered feet as he rocks himself and mindlessly mutters, “should’ve clipped ‘em, should’ve worn socks,” over and over and over.
There but for the grace of god go I.
A couple of weeks ago, our seven-year-old son had his first pedicure. It wasn’t a planned event – I was there to have my own toes done and he was with me, so it seemed like a good idea to let him join in. After all, while wonderful in all the other ways, he did inherit his dad’s ridiculous Captain Caveman feet – and as long as he’s still a snuggler, why take chances? He enjoyed it, too, flirting with the pedicurist and giggling when she reached the ticklish parts… and in the end he walked away with neat feet, softer than they’d been since his newborn baby days.
As far as I was concerned, this was a win-win. The Big Bean scoffed when I told him, but we both knew he didn’t have a gnarly, hairy foot to stand on.
The Big Bean isn’t scoffing anymore. In fact, he’ll soon be receiving a pedicure of his very own, alongside me and his son. Sometime this afternoon, he will find himself ass-planted in an oversized massage chair, voice trembling wildly as his back receives the rough knead-and-pound treatment. A slight woman speaking in a foreign tongue will do her best to tame the hideous beasts a-soak before her. It will not be her best day.
No, it won’t be easy for any of us – but we will all survive.
The pedicurist will walk away with sore arms, a healthy tip and a feeling of great accomplishment.
My husband will emerge a better man, no longer a slave to the grotesque, monstrous deformities keeping him off balance. Able to run free, free from the thorny mess that’s always lurked below, just waiting to trip him up.
And I will finally be able to sleep in peace, no longer cowed by the fear of a painful, bloody nighttime death.
With my own soft, closely trimmed, coral-painted toes, I am finally taking a stand.
It is time.
Wish us luck.Stumble it!