“Good morning, Kleo. Are you awake yet? Can you talk?”
After a pause and some mumbling a sleeping voice answered, “I can talk, what’s up, mom?”
“Kleo, I think your sister lied to me Saturday.”
“Oh, mom! Don’t’ worry! It’s just puberty. What happened?”
“Sunday we were sitting on the long couch in the living room. I thought I noticed a pause in her computing so I saw my chance to ask a question, “Natalie, did Alex like the birthday gifts you gave him last night?”
She glared at me as if I had told her, “Your feet smell like cheese.”
I edged back away from her and commented, “Oh. I was sure that you had told me it was his birthday.”
And from the dining room table your Dad grunted in a way that sounded like,”Yeah, I thought it was his birthday, too.”
I could see her dark brown eyes try to burn me like coal, so I changed tactics a bit.
“Oh, was it cause he got a good grade for something, or he won an award, or was it . . .your one year anniversary!!!”
The more I talked the angrier she got. She kept jerking her head towards the dining room. Her eyes were hot and mean. She was coiling up her Fit Box Tai Bo legs like she was getting ready to kick out without thinking but still meeting her mark. Me!
Or she might have whacked me on the head with her laptop so I slid over to the small couch and started mumbling incomprehensibly. She became so angry she wouldn’t speak to me! She got up in huff and left for her room.
I waited 24 hours. Then I timidly asked her, “Why did you get so angry when I asked about Alex’s presents? Was it your anniversary?”
“Because! Dad was there! He could hear us! And it wasour anniversary.” I know she had an urge to add something like, “You nincompoop!” or something on that order extrapolated to the obscene.
I quickly asked as I rushed away, “Did he give you something?”
“He took me out!”
“Aha! I got out of there and ran into the kitchen. Finally I got some useful information! They had gone out on a real date! Our baby, our cuddly youngest in the family, has a boy friend! And it can’t be denied, after a year, she is in a relationship! What do you think?”
“Oh! I think you’re right! She never wants us to call Alex her boy friend though!”
“Yes, even the night of their anniversary as she was going down the steps to leave the house she grumbled to me, ‘Well, I don’t know if it’ll be fun. It’s going to be just me and him tonight. None of the girls or anybody. We might see them if they pass by but he wants us to be just the two of us.’
“I think she likes him a lot! The more she likes him the more she won’t talk about what’s going on!”
“And the more she grumbles about him. He brought her home in a taxi. Your Dad gave her a ride downtown to meet him, but Alex brought her home! Isn’t that cute, your little sis out on a real live date!”
“But after a whole year does she really think Dad hasn’t figured it out yet? You guys were so much stricter with me and Thanos. I had to be the firstborn and get all your worries and yelling about dating and boys!
“Yes, I’m sorry sweetheart but the firstborn is the child parents use to learn how to parent! It started in the olden days when people had lots and lots of children so it was more cost effective back then.
And I didn’t yell at you about Thanos, I let even let him stay all night when he was so tired!”
“Yes, Mommy, that’s one of the reasons Thanos loves you so much!”
“But your boyfriends before you met Thanos, they were a problem! You were in trouble a lot! Especially when you were 12 years old and you wanted to date someone that was 17 years old!”
“Oh, yeah. Dad would come to look for me and get really angry! I remember that time I was at the plaza in front of the nursing home. Now I guess it’s kind of funny.”
“Don’t say that to your Dad. He couldn’t believe it when he talked to your friends sitting there. They said they knew where you were and who you were with but they weren’t going to tell him! I give your friends credit for loyalty to you, but don’t bring it up with your Dad. If you do I bet he’ll just start steaming again.”
“I was so mad at him! It was more embarrassing than anything you guys have ever done to embarrass me!”
“I know and neither one of you could let it go for weeks! There was steam coming out of your ears, too!”
“But now I have Thanos so you don’t worry about me.”
“Not as much! So can you find out what they did on their date? Where did they go and what did they eat? Then you can tell me.”
“I’ll try but she hasn’t ‘had time’ to talk to me for about three weeks. I get about three words out and she hangs up. Let me know when she’s in a good mood and I’ll ask her.”
“That’s a good plan!”