When April-Foolsing Goes Wrong

Today is April 1st, so to all somewhat normal people, it’s the holiday for pranks, jokes, and downright stupidity.

I’ll speak to that from personal experience. Just last night, I was at a bonfire with friends at a forest preserve a few miles out of town, sipping some pink Moscato, BSing about our mundane college lives, and listening to Sam Hunt’s newest tracks.

The night started innocently enough. I drove my boyfriend and a few of his guy friends, then proceeded to sip casually, all the while laughing at the amount of idiots it took to strategically place sticks and broken branches in a tee-pee shape to keep the fire going.

Midnight rolled around, and honestly, I was excited. I’d been plotting my April Fools jokes for a few days now. I kid you not, ‘April Fools!’ complete with the exclamation mark, was written in purple ink in my planner on the first line under Wednesday. And literally, under the homework section for the night before was ‘plan April Fools!’ See, I took this day seriously. In the past few years I’d pranked my softball coach by walking to practice with my pitching arm ace-bandaged and hanging loosely against my chest. I’d saran-wrapped all the soap bottles in my mom’s shower to make it rather frustrating to wash her hair. I’d brought an ex-boyfriend nearly to tears with a fake pregnancy test. And that’s not even close to everything.

My personal favorites were the scare-your-pants-off types of jokes—the ones where there’s potential for the person getting played to be legitimately scared—the best kind of jokes, really.

Anyways, it wasn’t until I was driving a crew of drunkies home around 1:30am when the perfect idea hit. I had already brought my boyfriend and one of his roommates home, and had looped back around to take another group back into town—it was the perfect opportunity to terrify my boyfriend with one of those ‘Oh my God. I just got pulled over’ texts. And so with my boyfriend’s other roommate in on it [he was one of the guys I looped back around to pick up], I pulled the ultimate prank.

I have to say, it was pretty good. My boyfriend’s roommate sent the texts, but it wasn’t just one text. He sent a string of ones that he purposely garbled just to seem drunker and add to the fear factor. ‘Marisa just got ploulled over.’ ‘Sh*t.’ ‘I’m goingas to get coff.’ ‘Station.’ Then, I added to the suspense by ignoring a phone call from my boyfriend.

In the moment, I was excited. Seeing that he called me meant two things:

  1. He was totally buying it

And 2. He actually, genuinely cared for me

I didn’t keep the prank going for too long, knowing that he might just be a sweetheart enough to get in his car and head to the police station. We were just passing by his apartment when I saw him standing outside. He looked adorable, in a pair of sweatpants and one of his striped drug-rug sweaters, his blonde-brown hair messy, but brushed to the side. I smiled as we passed by, laughed as he flipped my car the bird.

Two minutes later, I was in his apartment and he walked right past me, avoiding eye contact. At this point there were two options:

He was either 1. Mad as hell

Or 2. Pranking me back

I hoped for the latter, but after a few minutes of him storming to his room, then arguing with his roommate about the stupidity of the situation, I started to have a little regret about the whole scenario.

Apparently he had been in the shower when the texts went down. He stopped, immediately called me, and when I hadn’t answered, he got out without even cleaning himself, put on is clothes, and was ready to head out the door to the station when he saw us.

At this point, I gathered my purse and keys [plotting a potential getaway] and hesitantly stepped into his bedroom. He was under the covers, phone in hand, eyebrows furrowed. He looked pissed.

I sat on the edge of the bed and rested my hand on his leg. Funny thing is, my heart was swelling with happiness. Sure, he might be mad as hell, but this was the first time I’d seen how much he cared for me. That he was willing to just drop everything to come and help me. That maybe he really did mean it when he said he loved me. That wasn’t the point of pulling the prank by any means, but seeing that he had genuinely worried made me feel pretty special.

I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to ask him if he was mad, and I also didn’t want to buy in if he was pranking me back. “It’s just f*cking childish.” He muttered to both me and his roommate, looking up only for a second from his phone.

My boyfriend has this way about him—he’s the most stubborn person I’ve ever met, but he also fights hard. When there’s something he feels strongly about, he’ll let you know. And sometimes it’s not in the best way.

“Babe,” I said slowly, “look, it was just a joke.”

“You think this is funny?” He looked up from his phone, his hazel eyes harsh and angry.

“No, I don’t think—”

“I literally got out of the shower because you didn’t answer. I was halfway out the door when I saw you guys.”

“I know, I—”

“This is literally something you do when you’re f*cking ten years old. I haven’t pulled an April Fool’s joke since I was ten. I literally don’t get it.”

I closed my eyes and sighed. This was not the scared-then-relieved-thank-God-you’re-alive-babe-I-was-so-worried-about-you scenario I’d imagined. In a perfect world, he’d know that I was just trying to get him good. Terrible, but one of the best pranks. In the end, he hadn’t gone to the station and I was fine. I just wanted him to laugh it off then plot getting me back.

That wasn’t happening anytime soon.

At this point it was close to 3am and I wiggled into a laying position on the edge of his bed. I wanted to apologize, wanted to make everything better. See, that’s the kind of person I am, always wanting to make things back to how they were, even if that means compromising my true feelings. It’s probably a good thing, to some extent. But I consider it one of my bigger flaws. I’m stubborn. And I like that I’m stubborn. Wanting to make everything perfect goes completely against that.

“Babe,” I said again. “I understand that it’s sh*tty you had to get out of the shower and get dressed and that you were actually scared. I didn’t mean it to be something bad. Honest.” I hesitated then spoke quickly, “But it was stupid. Sorry.”

He didn’t say anything. I immediately was pissed. I didn’t want to be the one in the wrong. It was a harmless joke, after all. No one had really inconvenienced themselves. No one was hurt. No one was arrested. There were plenty of positives here.

I scooted to the furthest edge of the bed and wrapped my arms around my middle. I was sorry, yes. Sorry that he was mad. But I didn’t want to feel like a stupid child. I wanted him to know it was a joke—a part of the day, and the fun, even if it had been a scary for a minute. Silence. I wanted so badly to lean back against his chest and have his arms around me. See, that’s the ironic part. I wanted to be mad, but I couldn’t. And I mean, I did understand his side. I had scared the hell out of him. But that was the point, right?

Regardless, I’d learned something, well two things.

  1. April Fool’s jokes were not a good idea for our relationship
  2. He would drop everything to be there for me

Even in my half-apologetic, half-stubborn state that comforted me.

I drifted to sleep, but minutes later I felt his body shift closer, his arm slowly reach across and pull me towards him. The gesture didn’t fix the fact that we both still smelled like bonfire smoke, he still thought I was a damn child, and I was a mix of angry and wanting to squeeze him with happiness. But it was 3:30am and not the time for all that. He arm around me was enough for now, a truce. Even if there was still an entire day of April 1st left.

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