The Happy Homemaker: "Hey, Girlfriend!" and "Pierpont's Crisis"

posted Mar 18, 2014, 8:45 PM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 8:45 PM ]
I inadvertently started a new story series on my blog that began with a rather amusing but improbable imagining of me as a husband and father. So I’ve decided to start posting them here three (or in this case, two) at a time…

#24 – “Hey, Girlfriend!”

I was cleaning up the kitchen after dinner while Bradley and Pierpont were bonding together over some sports recap show on ESPN when there was a knock on the kitchen door.

“Come in!” I shouted before I even considered whether or not the door was locked. I tend to keep it locked but Bradley doesn’t, so whether or not it was actually locked at the time was anyone’s guess.

Jake’s mother poked her head into the door before walking in. “Hi, Terrence. Is this a good time?” she asked.

I guess it was unlocked. “If it wasn’t, it would be now,” I replied with a faux-flirtatious smirk.

Jake’s mother walks in rather tentatively. She generally seems nervous about something – owing nothing to her son’s best friend’s gay fathers. But I guess I can understand. After losing a spouse who is presumably the love your life, I imagine there’s an element of just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“I won’t stay long, but I did want to talk to you about something,” she began, standing by the door as if she wasn’t a welcome guest. I wiped my hands off, walked over to her, grabbed her by the hand and led her to the table to sit down – which she did once I pulled the chair out for her. I nodded my head and smiled because I like that she did that.

“Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Ice cream?” I asked.

“A cup of tea will be nice – if you’re having one too.”

“Sure thing,” I said. I filled up our bright red tea kettle with water and heated it up on the stove. “What would you like to talk about?”

“Jake tells me he and Pierpont had some sort of falling out,” she began as I grabbed three mugs out of the cupboard.

I looked at her incredulously. “Over what?” I asked, bringing a over a basket of herbal teas to the table for her to choose from.

“A girl named Liana.”

“Liana?” I asked. I tilted my head a little bit. Lately I had seen him talking to a female classmate when I went to pick him up from school, but it didn’t register to me as anything more than just two children talking. Besides, outside of Jake, he’d never really exhibited much excitement in anyone – male or female.

“I don’t know all the details but Jake came home really upset yesterday. I finally was able to get him to at least ‘high-level’ it for me today. I don’t think they’re fighting over her, but outside of telling me what happened between him and Pierpont, all he kept saying was that he didn’t like her.”

The tea kettle whistled and I poured her a cup and poured Bradley a cup. “Let me go talk to Pierpont. I’ll have Bradley come out here so you can fill him in.”

I handed a mug to Jake’s mother, set one next to her for Bradley and walked over to the back room where he and Pierpont were ESPNing.

“Bradley, if you’d like a cup of tea, there’s one in the kitchen where Jake’s mother is waiting to say ‘hello’...if you’d like to go in and say ‘hello’,” I said. I waited for a response before continuing. “Normally, I would just bring the tea in here but then she’d be sitting out there...by herself.”

Bradley looked at me incredulously for a moment and then turned his attention to Pierpont. “Your dad wants to talk to you,” he said. “Why he didn’t just say so is beyond me.”

Bradley got up and winked at me as he walked by. I playfully smacked him on his wise ass as he exited and sat down next to Pierpont. “Do you know why Jake’s mother is here?” I asked.

Pierpont nodded, but offered nothing further.

I stared at him for moment waiting for more. “How about you tell me what you know about why Jake’s mother is here.”

“Jake and I had a fight,” he said more nonchalantly that I would expect for someone who had a fight with their best friend.

“What was this fight about?”

“Liana.”

“Who is Liana?”

“My girlfriend.”

I was taken aback by both the bold revelation and the continued nonchalance. “You’re nine. How do you have a girlfriend? I’m 34. I didn’t have a girlfriend until I met your daddy. And I was 25 then.”

Pierpont looked at me in confusion. “Daddy’s not a girl.”

“I know,” I said, chuckling to myself. “So what makes Liana your girlfriend?”

“Because we sit next to each other at lunch.”

“That’s cute,” I said, chuckling to myself again. “But why are you and Jake fighting over her?”

“He doesn’t like her.”

“That doesn’t mean you two can’t be friends.”

“He called her ugly and Liana my girlfriend said that I have to defend her honor like they do in the movies by beating him up, but then I told her I can’t get in trouble again until next year so then she told me that I couldn’t be friends with him anymore.”

“Do you still want to be friends with him?”

“Yes.”

“Then you be friends with him. And she’ll either accept it or she won’t. Either way, it sounds to me like you’ll be better off keeping Jake as your best friend than keeping Liana as your girlfriend.”

Jake thought about this for a moment and then started smiling. “Ok, dad.”

“Why don’t we go to the kitchen so you can ask Jake’s mother if Jake can come over for dinner tomorrow night.”

Jake jumped off the couch and ran into the kitchen to talk to Jake’s mother.

I listened to the footsteps of my excited nine-year-old as he stormed through the house and into the kitchen. I turned to face the camera and addressed the audience: “At least Bradley and I – of all people – have a few more years before we have to explain the innerworkings of women to him,” I said. “But it could be worse: we could have adopted a daughter and then we’d have to explain men.”


#25 – “Pierpont’s Crisis” 

"How was your sleepover at Jake's?" I asked Pierpont as he climbed into the passenger seat of the car and buckled up.

Being the grown up nine-year-old he desperately wants to be, Pierpont recently told me that I no longer needed to meet him at the door whenever I picked him up from anywhere because he'd rather walk to the car by himself. I told him that I was fine (or as fine as I could be) with that as long as I could see the door he's walking out of from the car. Between this and the weekly visits to his school, he's asked me to give up a lot this year. I don't know what I'm going to do when he asks me to stop hugging him in public. Hopefully we have a few more years before I become that type of embarrassment to him.

"It was fine," he replied matter-of-factly as if I should just assume he and Jake had a great time. They're best friends, so I suppose I should but it's either that, ask him if anything bad happened or not ask anything at all.

I left it at that, but he was silent for most of the ride home and staring off into space. He's usually so much more gregarious after spending time with Jake. But as I pulled into the driveway, Pierpont finally spoke.

"Dad, what's it all mean?" he asked.

I was taken a bit aback by the question -- more out of confusion than anything else. "I'm not following."

"What does it all mean?" he repeated.

"What does all what mean?"

"Life."

Now I wish I hadn't wished he'd say something. "Life? What about life?"

"Yeah, Dad. Life. What's it all mean? What's the point?"

I looked back and forth between the front door of the house I wanted to escape to and my nine-year-old son whose existential crisis I wanted to escape from.

"Where is all this coming from?" I asked.

"Jake doesn't have a dad, but I have two."

"Are you looking to trade one of us in?"

"No, Dad. That's just silly."

"Well, you could look at Jake's situation in two ways: either he has a dad who exists in another form to guide and protect Jake in ways he never could while he was alive or Jake once had a dad and no longer does."

"Jake must not know about his dad still existing. He was so sad talking about him last night."

"It's the holidays. People get sad over certain things. Perhaps someone they loved died this year or during this time of year any number of years ago. Or maybe Jake's just remembering the great Christmases he had with his Dad and is saddened by the fact that he'll never have another one with him. It's a sad thing but maybe in some way we were all brought into his life as a makegood from whoever is in charge of this sort of thing to help make up for the loss of his Dad."

"But there has to be more to it than that."

"Honey, you're nine years old. There isn't. I have twenty-five years on you and sometimes I still search for that 'more to life' you're looking for."

Pierpont and I sat in a momentary silence that was broken by a light rapping on the driver's side window. It was Bradley, who had just come back from the gym. I turned on the car and lowered the window.

"What's going on?" Bradley asked.

I turned to Bradley. "We're having an existential crisis."

Bradley leaned into the car. "Isn't he a bit young for one of those?" he whispered to me.

"I would imagine so but I guess the sooner he has one the sooner he figures it all out."

"What's he trying to figure out?"

"What it all means."

"What all what means?"

"Life."

Bradley looked over at Pierpont. "Hey, bud."

"Hi, Daddy."

"You want to go get some Cold Stone with me?"

Pierpont's eyes brightened and he perked up. "Can I get it with brownies and sprinkles?"

"Whatever you want," Bradley replied with a smile.

Bradley opened up the door, took me by the hand and pulled me out of the car. He handed me his gym bag. "Can you take this inside for me?" he asked.

"What if I want ice cream?"

He gave me a quick peck on the mouth. "You handled his crisis your way, now it's my turn," he teased with a wink and then started the car.

I watched as he and Pierpont pulled out of the driveway into the street and drove off. "But I like brownies and sprinkles too," I said crestfallenly to myself.

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