Egg on your face

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It's a boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old. He is standing right by the bed, staring at me. Half-awake, I have a hard time understanding the situation and he's not helping by not talking at all. What are you doing here, little man?

Domenica groans behind me. "Deb? What's up?"

The boy perks up. "Mom?"

"Nathan?" says Domenica. Oh. Oh. That's what's happening.

She raises on an elbow. "What's up, love? Can't sleep?"

"I heard a noise and I wasn't sure if you were home," he says. Now that I look at him, he looks as perplexed about my presence as I was about his moments ago. We probably mirrored each other's expression.

"I'm sorry Deb and me woke you up. Did Mark get you to sleep alright?" says Domenica.

"Yeah," he says. "We played the caterpillar game and he told me a story."

"Nice", says Domenica. "I think it's time to go back now. Want me to come tuck you in?"

"Mm-hm."

Domenica gets up and puts on a dressing gown. When they leave the room, I let out an awkward "Good night", briefly answered by Nathan and... Mommy.

It's surprisingly hard to wrap my head around this. I don't know what it means to me that Domenica's a mom. Is it important? Do I have to care? I don't even know if she'll want to see me again. Ugh. I bury my head in the pillow. Maybe it's best to sleep on it for now, it must be something like 3 am. Not really a time for deep thoughts.

Drowsy, I hear Domenica coming back and quiety shutting the door. Unable to do more, I turn my head on the side to show her I'm there.

She's standing there with a strange smile on, anxious-looking, apologetic. It's the first time I see her seemingly wanting to look smaller. Maybe this situation isn't easy on her either.

"Are you okay?" I ask in a whisper. Don't want to wake little Nathan again.

She chuckles nervously and comes sitting on my side of the bed. "That's what I should be asking you," she says. "Honestly, I didn't want to spring this on you that way. Do you think..." She swallows, takes a deep breath. "Is me having a kid going to be a problem for you?"

I see all the tension that's been building up in that question. Afraid of rejection, eh? I might know a thing or two about this. "I... don't know. First, do you even want to see me again after tonight?" I ask.

"Why, yes," she says, genuinely surprised. A little worried now, she asks: "You don't?"

"Yes I do," I say, smiling. "Look, maybe this is just me being half-asleep but I'd say that if we want to see each other again, it's a good start. A good start is... good." I take her hand, trying to be reassuring. I end up yawning. "Could we maybe pause that conversation there and resume it in the morning?"

"Sure," she says. She has her lady-catching smile on again. Confidence up. She gives me a very mom-like forehead kiss and we cuddle back to sleep.


* * *


I hate mornings after. I hate rising when I don't shine. Rum has settled in my forehead while I was all passed out and I'm thinking through thick, syrupy liquid. I didn't drink that much, damn it. What happened to my youth?

My body feels so heavy. Like I've been shoved under five blankets and then some. I'm shackled to the bed and way too warm. Then I open my eyes and Domenica's sleeping face is there. All the discomfort just flies away. Best hangover cure ever.

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