I could hardly believe what I was hearing. Shante had been going on and on for what seemed an eternity, accusing me of cheating, giving me the third degree on 'who was that girl you obviously were having so much fun with when I called'.
"Give me one good reason I shouldn't break up with you right now, Cy?"
Suddenly something snapped inside of me. I couldn't take this another second.
"I'm not going to give you any reason, Shante. In fact, I am going to do you one better. I am breaking up with you."
"What!? Let me get this straight. You are breaking up with me? You can't do that!"
"Uh.. Yeah..." I wavered for just a second, but the thought of Talia's parting words echoed in my head. Your true love is waiting out there.
"Yeah, I can," I continued, now full of unexpected confidence. "I can, and I did. We're through. Goodbye, Shante."
I was surprised at what a load that was off my mind. I actually enjoyed our family meal that evening. Bennie had made my favorite mac and cheese, and I savored it slowly. Mom appeared to be increasingly antsy as we ate, and finally I guess she couldn't stand it any more.
"So tell me already! What did you find out about the figurines?"
"Hmmm. Well, they are keys, I guess you could say. Keys to that oldest journal. Kind of like our own private family Rosetta Stone. I'm pretty sure the ancient Chinese characters are a translation of the older characters underneath. If they are, that means I can finally decipher the oldest journal - and maybe discover where our ancestors orginated!"
I just sat back and grinned at mom and dad's awe-struck reaction to my announcement.
I started spending more time upstairs, and less time in the basement, since I didn't have to hide from Shante anymore. I was right about the keys, and dove right into my newest translation project. Sometimes I wished I'd stayed in the basement, though - I really wasn't kidding when I had told Talia that my parents still acted like teenagers in love, more often than not.
When I wasn't working on my translation, I was pursuing my new passion - old romantic movies. I knew Shante wasn't right for me, but that didn't stop me daydreaming about my soul mate, who just had to be out there somewhere. One day, I was interrupted in the middle of a real tear jerker, by the sound of arguing coming from the kitchen. After listening a few moments, I realized that it was mom doing most of the shouting.
"Grrrr! How did this happen!? What am I gonna do about work? My team needs me!"
She sounded even more agitated than usual.
"Calm down, love. Your team is just going to have to get along without you for the next nine months."
My eyes widened, but I wisely kept my eyes glued to the TV. There was no way I wanted to get involved in this conversation. Although, if mom had asked me, I could have told her exactly 'how this happened.' And Talia thought her parents were embarrassing.
Mom eventually resigned herself to the fact they were expecting another baby, and dad was absolutely delighted. Every time I turned around, there he was, talking baby talk to mom's tummy.
Not only were my parents behaving like love-struck teenagers, my brother Juniper was glued at the hip with his new girlfriend, Dayna. And my Aunt Lotus and her girlfriend had one child and were expecting their second, who was due around the same time as Peony's baby. It seemed everyone I knew was finding love, except for me. I just kept plugging away at the computer, while trying to block out the annoying slurping sounds coming from the nearby couch.
Suddenly, in the middle of her rant, she stopped short, the strangest expression on her face. A slight gasp of pain escaped her lips, and she grabbed her stomach.
"Mom? Mom!? Are you okay??"
"Just .. call.. your dad... baby's coming.."
I didn't think my fingers were capable of moving so fast. I had my dad on the phone in no time. He was too far away to get home, he said. He'd meet mom and me at the hospital. Mom and.... me?? I had to drive my mom to the hospital?? I almost lost it at that. My dad was so calm. He told me to just breathe, I'd be fine.
Unfortunately, I have to fight my dad for a chance to even hold her. I asked my mom if he was this gaga over Juni and me when we were babies, and she confirmed that yes, he's always been that way.
She is my reason for getting up each morning, and although my research is leading me in another direction, I don't know if I can bear to leave her.
Even my Uncle Song, who has always avoided crowds like the plague, showed up, looking none too sure of himself.
I noticed he barely joined in the celebration, as everyone else cheered Juniper on.
After the singing, Winter proceeded to document the whole affair in cell phone pictures.
Even she couldn't get Uncle Song to smile for her camera, though. My mom never talked about her older brother. I wondered what had happened to make him so lonely and sad. Everyone else had moved to the dance floor, and that left Song and me standing there looking like fifth wheels. I decided to take a chance, and stepped over to say hello.
He is a writer for the newspaper, and after a few minutes, he had me talking up a storm about my research, and the leads I had discovered, and also how reluctant I was to leave home to follow up on them. He heard me out, without interrupting me once - which I found refreshing. Usually I can't get anyone to listen to my theories for more than a few minutes, without them interrupting and changing the subject.