” My dad yells from the living room.“You got engaged at two months,” I yell back.“So?
” My mother asks.“I just don’t know how to have that conversation.”“How about ‘hey-”“Don’t say the name!
”“Hey, You-Know-Who, I bought you a Christmas present.”“I can’t!
” My head hits the table so hard my mother’s teacup rattles.“Listen,” my father leans against the door frame, “you’re going to have to be vulnerable at some point.”“Who says? I scroll through my profile and spot a picture of me and You-know-Who. I remember the friend who took the photo telling us to move closer to one another. I imagine handing over a Christmas present, one I’ve clearly taken time to pick out and purchase. “I need dumber friends.”I still have a picture of my first boyfriend and me somewhere. Behind us, Christmas lights set the icy window aglow.
“I’m not ready.”“You’ve been sitting here for 20 minutes,” my mother says.“Is sitting here such a problem?
” I ask in my best Being-Home-for-Thanksgiving-brings-out-my-thirteen-year-old-self tone.“Well, no.” She pauses.
“It’s just that you keep making that keening sound.”“I just don’t think I can do it.”“Why the hell not?
” My father pours coffee.“If I buy it, it’ll mean I care.”“You do care.” My mother looks at me over her reading glasses.“Well, I don’t want you-know-who to know that! ” My mother sets down her i Phone, clearly resigned to the fact that Words with Friends will have to wait.“Yes.”“For how long now? ” My father leaves the room.“It is perfectly acceptable to buy the person you’re dating a Christmas present after five months,” my mother says.“It would be fucked up if you didn’t!
He said he thought the hand-job was a nice final memory for us. (Nor, arguably, is letting one’s parents this far into one’s personal life, but one dysfunction per post please.)So what is normal at five months? It also tries to change my question to “What’s normal to buy you’re (sic) girlfriend if she’s 13?
” Which: a) seems appropriate for my current headspace, b) causes me to worry that the people asking this question are pedophiles, and c) makes me angry about grammar.
But my problem isn’t what to buy.“If I buy it, I’ll have to say I did,” I tell my mother.“Did you know a ‘geoduck’ is a type of clam? “It’s worth a lot of points.”“It’s pronounced ‘gooey duck,’ I say.“Why do you know that?
”“I have no idea.”“The thing about you,” my mother says, “is you know things I wouldn’t expect, but you have no idea about things most people know.”“Like ,” I shout back.”“What’s wrong with saying you bought—whatever it is you’re buying?