Mmmm… stir-fried southwest chicken for burritos! Spanish rice… refried beans! Things I don’t eat on my low-carb lifestyle. If I drank less, I could eat worse…
Besides what’s on the table, Gary recalls the taste of his Intended and what is perhaps a bitter taste of his future…?
Rather abruptly, Gary was back home.
“Looking at your mouth, you’ve been up to no good!” Faustina teased.
She ducked her face to his and away before he could stab her with his raised fork.
“Yep! Mom! Gary’s french-kissing Henge!”
“That’s nice, dear. Could you please set the salads out?”
Mother was doing yeoman’s work making sure she doesn’t meet my eyes, Gary thought. Oh, father is upstairs changing out of his work uniform. There were rumors – all the P-kids, and Faustina were good at rumors – about the “special project” at Oak Ridge.
If those rumors were true…
He thought about Henge’s lips upon his…
“How was everyone’s day!” His father asked, loping down the stairs. “Gary! What’s new in your Brotherhood?!”
As he prepared his answer, he pointedly ignored his Mother and Sister holding each other while they laughed in the kitchen. He turned to face his father.
“It was very interesting. Steven led the discussion about causation and causality. After that, we swam. Matthew read the day’s entry from the lectionary and we talked about that a bit.” He replied.
“When are they all back here at our place? Thank you!” The last directed at Faustina as she sat some salsa and Mexican rice onto the table. Still grinning.
“A week from today.” Their Brotherhood met every Monday and Thursday.
“Have you thought of a topic, yet?” His father put his napkin into his lap as his wife placed a platter of burritos onto the table and sat opposite him. Gary was at his father’s right with his little sister across. They said grace.
“I thought we would talk about girls.” He reached for the spatula to retrieve a burrito.
“Hah! Doing something yukky like putting your tongue in your girlfriend’s mouth makes you the expert?!” Faustina jeered at him.
“Not at all,” he easily replied, taking some refried beans as well. “I thought, as we do for any subject, that we’d pool our knowledge and experience to be older.”
“Gary!” His father elaborately stage-whispered, leaning in, “if you find out anything about them – anything at all – please let me know!”
“You sure seem to know plenty,” his mother said, cutting her food, “in bed!”
“Ah! Ah!” Faustina cried, flicking her hands at their mother. “Stupid dust! Stupid dust!”
While ribald with me, she’s still very much a little girl when Mother and Father are so direct.
“Dinner is wonderful; thank you, Mother.” He said.
“You’re most welcome!” She said. “Being married to your hardworking father allows me to have the most important job in the world!”
“And you’re so good at it!” Faustina seconded.
Gary paused to stare at his plate. What job would he hold, one day, soon? It was not as if Henge needs my support… unless maybe I was an electrician. And, it’s not as if I will be supporting her or… any children.
He was suddenly aware of the silence at the table.
“It’s unusual to hear you sigh,” his father said, putting a strong hand onto Gary’s left shoulder. He questioned his son with his eyes.
Gary recapitulated what he’d been thinking. The silence drew on.
“I am sorry. I did not mean to ruin dinner.”
“You’ve not!” Faustina said, emphasizing her point by taking another mouthful. “Isth jus commicated!”
“Fussy… talking with food…!” Mother chided her with her toddler’s nickname.
“Tholly!” She was obviously not.
Later, Gary briefly knelt next to his bed.
You heard what I said at dinner, Lord. I don’t know what to think or do. Please, let me be Your instrument to my friends and family. Amen.
He lay down and closed his eyes.
I love you for who you are, not what you do. His Intended whispered into his mind. Although I do find the thought of you being an electrician and rooting about in one of my cores to be oddly erotic!
I love you.
And I, you. Goodnight!