Generation 2: Chapter 4
It felt weird, having a perfect stranger sitting around the house. Mom was different than how I imagined her. From the stories Dad told she was a wonderful, soft spoken person who spent her hours gardening or learning new recipes to cook for supper the next night. It was only now that I realize I had been imagining the perfect mother, not the Mom I had who was upset and disoriented after sleeping away 18 years of her life.
She spent most of her hours hiding up somewhere reading the old books Dad kept, then any time that she wasn’t reading she was sitting on the couch downstairs watching the cooking channel until she dozed off. It made me feel like crying each time I thought of how hard it must be for her to adjust, but at the same time I wanted a normal mom, and those conflicting feelings were enough to give anyone a headache.
“Hey Rose, Happy Birthday!”
“Ugghhh! Don’t say that word!” I flinched away from Flax when he tried to hug me. Birthdays were a thing I started to loathe way back when I turned 13 and realized I had to grow up and stop with the endless games of tag and playhouse dolls. Now my age just felt like an ever increasing number and the idea of turning 19 and still having no idea what I was going to do with my life was a little more than unnerving.
“Fine, fine. Rosey you need to learn that birthdays are for celebrating.” he was laughing at me now. Celebrating usually called for parties, which he knew meant people and a very unhappy me.
“Anywaayys, let’s go to the park tonight. I hear there’s supposed to be a new rising star musician playing so we could check it out.”
I thought for a while, tapping my thumb against my bottom lip while looking up at him to see the anticipation of my answer build. It looked like he really wanted me to go, but it was fun to let him squirm for a few.
“Okay when do we leave? It’ll be nice to get away from Dad and all before they can pull out the cake and start singing.”
“Well then, right now I guess. We won’t be too early.” He said, looking at his watch.
I starred into his eyes for a moment, not really knowing why. They were still the same golden hue that made my heart race, but there was something else there. I couldn’t figure out what it was I was looking for but Flax started looking at me funny after a few seconds and I diverted my gaze.
It was strange, I loved him. I really did! He made me feel like the person I’ve always wanted to be: confident, witty, smart. I’m only ever the way I am when I’m around him. It’s just I wasn’t sure if that’s who I should be, you know? Maybe I’m just over thinking things a bit, I tend to do that a lot so I shook my thoughts away and grabbed the keys before heading out to the car with Flax, narrowly escaping Poppy’s grasp. No doubt she wanted to go out clubbing on her first day of adulthood, so I decided to spare her the trouble of trying to get me to go with her.
When we got to the park there was already a small crowd gathered around a smooth looking guitarist who was playing her heart out. I loved the emotional aspect to music, ever since I was little a single sad note could bring a tear to my eye or a happy melody would have me bouncing around the house for days. It’s just the way music was for me and right now the up-beat tunes reverberating from the guitarist made me feel like dancing.
“Come on Flax dance with me!” I said, grabbing his sleeve and leading him towards the end of the crowd. Flax wasn’t a good dancer, at all. That never stopped me from trying though, so we swayed to the rhythm of the guitar and eventually others joined in. I was blushing at this point from the realization that I’ve done it again: something unlike myself. Luckily before my self evaluations started up again Flax lunged to my rescue.
“Rose, lets go walk around for a bit, I think if I keep trying to dance like this I might permanently injure myself soon.” He was smiling at his idea and I giggled as he took my hand.
We made our way around the park and stopped at the swings where I took a seat and started kicking my feet. The swings were a wonderful escape from me, and for some reason I felt most at peace when my hair was flying behind me and then quickly lashing me in the face as I fell back. I figured I would have grown out of it by now, but I couldn’t help but feel the familiar butterflies fluttering around inside me as I tried to go higher and higher.
I slowed some when the swings started to rattle in an “I’m too old and rusty for you to be going that high” kind of way. Even if I loved the wind in my face, I didn’t want to feel the face plant I would make if the swings broke. I looked around for Flax who I had almost forgotten about in my momentary swing scare, but before I knew it strong arms were enveloping me from behind, preventing me from taking off again.
“Where do you think your going?” He whispered into my ear and my heart started to flutter around with butterflies again.
“Maybe just for a quick trip to the moon.” I whispered back “Wanna come with me?”
I was pretty happy with my cute little question and even more happy to be in Flax’s embrace as he pondered how to answer.
“Maybe, but you have to do something first, or I might think you would just leave me up there on the moon while you went home without me.” His smile was teasing and I couldn’t help but wonder what it was he wanted me to do.
“Ok, what is it?”
The words I had stored up got caught on my throat as I turned around to look at him. He just stood there, arms around me, waiting for my reply. For a moment I started to panic inside, with my first argument being that I’m to young, and my 2nd being ‘OMB what would my parents say??’ but after a moments pause I knew it didn’t matter.
“Sure” it wasn’t much, but it was all I could manage at the present. He had caught me completely off guard with thoughts of going to the moon and everything so what was a girl to do? My heart was swelling once the idea finally settled in though. He asked me to marry him, we were going to be married. Oh My BERRY I needed to tell Meri!!
As those thoughts swirled around in my head he lifted me up from my seat on the swing and kissed me lightly on the lips before bringing me in for a hug.
“Then to the moon it is.” he whispered to me, but I was already there, off in space with some weird fuzzy feeling numbing my brain to all emotions but happiness and excitement.
“Mom, Dad. I have something to tell you guys.” I was standing awkwardly in the doorway to their bedroom, not really sure how to break the news about my recent engagement to them. I didn’t know how they’d take it, to tell you the truth. I know Dad was easy going and would be ok with it, but what about Mom? It’s like she just woke up and now I’m off getting married. I can’t even imagine..
“What is it Rose?” my mom answered. It was strange to have two people to go to now, but I managed to suck it up, unlike my sisters who did their best to avoid Mom. Meri went strait back to Bridgeport after we left the hospital and Poppy has barely left our room since.
“Umm well.” I brought my left hand out so they could see the little ring that Flax had slipped onto my finger as we left the park the other night. “Flax asked me to marry him today.”
I could feel myself almost dying right then and there as the blood rushed to my head. I was probably redder than a tomato at this point, but Mom and Dad didn’t seem to notice.
“Your getting MARRIED!!!??? Oh, Rose that’s wonderful!!” Wow, I didn’t expect Mom to be so excited. That’s the happiest I’ve ever seen her and now I was feeling like my earlier judgements about her were a little off.
“That’s wonderful Rose, congratulations! That boy was as nervous as you’ve ever been when he asked me about it you know. I think you guys will be a good match for each other.”
I just gaped at him while Mom slapped him gently on the arm. “You knew!? And you didn’t tell me? Jeez, thanks.”
Laughter was bubbling up from inside of me now. Mom and Dad looked just like an old married couple, and I guess they were but It was nice seeing them like this.
“Rose, now that your getting married there’s something else I want to ask you about. You know about the family name already.”
“The Legacy? Of course you used to tell us about great Gramm and how she started it.”
“Yes, well we need someone to keep it going, so what do you say? Would Flax mind taking the Chambliss name?”
I was absolutely past the moon and dancing on stars now. As much as I loved Flax, I didn’t really want to be Mrs. Rose Butterbean.
“I’ll ask him, but I’m sure it’ll be fine! Oh, and there’s.. there’s more. Flax found a house. It’s tiny and all but we’ve decided to move into it while he works and I’m.. I’m starting my own business. A daycare center actually.”
In truth I had stayed up all night last night, restless and dizzy with every happy feeling known to berry, planning out what I was going to do with my life. Kids were a good match for me since college was expensive and to be honest, just not right for me.
They both just gaped at me. I guess this was a bit more news than just the marriage, but hey, that’s life right? At least my life was finally figured out and about to take off! I could still feel the parental objections about to brim over so I quickly kissed them both on the cheek before dashing out, narrowly escaping the onslaught of doubtful questions that were on their lips.
. . .
“So what do you think Rose? Isn’t it great? I mean I know there’s still a ton of unpacking and decorating to do, but it’s still a great place.” Flax was beaming and I couldn’t seem to wipe the smile off of my face even if I tried. Or at least not until my lips were busy with something else that is.
“It’s perfect Flax! I can’t believe it really, but it’s perfect.” I finally had a chance to say once we surfaced for air. It was still hard for me to wrap my head around how I’m living with my fiance now, and not with my parents. How my daycare center would be up and running in just a month and how our wedding was coming up right after that. It was all so fast and all so wonderful.
I stared around at the empty apartment as Flax wrapped his arm around me. No more panic attacks, no more nerves and half hysterical phone calls. It was all over now that Flax and I were together. Everything was perfect.