“but it’s a big day and you haven’t been in a year and it’s my father’s 60th birthday and let’s not forget i’m spending the weekend in killeen to celebrate your stepfather’s 60th birthday.”
“okay, i’ll go.”
“and it’s also when i’ll tell my parents.”
“no, i don’t want to go.“
“it won’t be bad. i swear!”
he eventually conceded at the last minute and that’s when his stomach began acting up. he was sullen the whole car trip to tyler.
he almost ran into my father, literally, once we reached town and he pulled the focus into a sloppy right while entering the parking lot of el charro just as my father happened to be pulling out. my father looked in the car. i ducked. though he didn’t know brian was coming, he still recognized it was him behind the wheel. i suppose it didn't help that brian gave a little wave despite my vehement protestations.
i hurried inside to purchase the gift certificate just as dad came strolling back in the door. i suppose i should have known someone would take him there for his birthday lunch. i grasped the certificate in my fist and shook it in the air at him before wishing the scoundrel a happy birthday.
we parted. he went to look at his cousin’s new lot and we made our way back to the house. but only to find i didn’t have my key. so we spent time enjoying the lovely october weather on the oasis of the back porch. brian’s guts were twisting the whole time.
my father finally showed back up followed shortly by my mother who had just driven in from the airport. i had been wondering if i was going to be able to get the two of them together and alone (without my grandparents and various other elder members of my family).
so there they were.
brian retired to the bathroom and i told him he could just stay in there for a minute. i was going to do it! just get it over with.
i went into the breakfast bar area and sat myself down on the vintage little red metal youth chair so that i could see mom in the kitchen dawdling about and dad a few feet away on one of the barstools.
“so... i have some news,” i began. “brian and i have decided to move in together and we’re looking for a place to buy...”
considering brian had dumped me twice and we had just reconciliated a mere three months prior, i sensed my parents would be quietly shocked by this. so i lessened the blow, in a way, letting them know i’m not completely frivolous with my relationships.
“... and then in may, we’re going to have a baby.”
i had already tested out this method of baby-news delivery on evelyn and appreciated it’s rhythm with the surprise ending that caused a deer-in-the-headlights type stare. and it seemed to work.
there was the confused silence while two brains wondered if they had just heard correctly.
and then it was my father who jumped into action first. with what i could swear were tears in his red eyes, he stood up with his arms out and said: “well, let me be the first to congratulate you.” followed by, “are you nervous?”
“hell yeah, i’m nervous! wouldn’t you be?”
shortly after mom joined in and made it a group hug, brian tread lightly through the living room toward us with a downward gaze ... looking like a dog caught digging in the garbage.
my father cocked his shotgun and took careful aim before my mother began screaming that he’d go to jail if he shot him. i’m kidding! it’s a joke! they hugged him too. and then mom did the inevitable and pointed out the irony of getting knocked up by someone who sells condoms for a living.
i think they were relieved that their little girl wasn't headed straight down a road ending in barren old maid childless spinsterhood after all. (that's not to say i can't still open Spinster Ranch once brian has keeled over and oliver has reduced the frequency of his visits to once a year).
we frolicked in the merriment of the news for a bit before traveling out to my sister’s for dinner and presents and cake. i had purchased an antique mug for my father because it was a dollar at the buchanan antique fair and because it was embossed in gold with the word “Father”... in a font that screamed and begged the pronunciation: “FAAAH-thuh”.
however, the mug was broken when the copy of “Pussy Letters” that was in the bag with it slid to the floor. that didn’t stop me from giving it to him. the man’s hard to shop for. i couldn’t be expected to find a replacement gift to accompany his real gift.
we still hadn’t told the elder or younger members of the family the big news, so my sister waited until everyone had left and her children were out of reach before loading me down with a heap of pregnancy books. most of which were never cracked open. because in the end, you can only read so many pregnancy books.
my sister's dog initially hated brian. he stunk of cats.