Part One: My Father
Behold my father's girlfriend's son:
The boy is tall, pretty-eyed, and he can wear a hoodie like nobody's business.
I don't think it's a secret that I have a fascination with his attractiveness. You can't put a boy that tall in front of me and expect me not to think about how nice it would be to make out with him. I'd have to stand on tip-toes to get at him. If that's not the best thing in the world, I don't know what is.
Anytime my father asks me to go somewhere with him and his girlfriend the first words out of my mouth are, "Will the Hot Son be there?" If he is coming, I have to spend an extra ten minutes on my hair and makeup. If he isn't coming, I ask why my father why he hasn't forced the Hot Son to ask me on a date yet.
"Why isn't he picking me up so we can go to a movie?" I'll ask. "Dad, you're not doing your job."
I guess it was only a matter of time before my father told his girlfriend that I asked after her son anytime I could. I suppose that's only fair. They probably think it's funny and cute. They probably mock me in private.
The private mocking has recently branched out, though. Last night when my father and his girlfriend came home from a weekend at the lake, he asked me if I'd like to spend some time looking at the pictures he'd taken of the Hot Son. He asked this as the Hot Son's mother sat quietly thumbing through the Sunday edition of the Buffalo News. "I've got some niiiice ones," he sang.
He's now started a campaign of unsubtle public teasing in front of the Hot Son's own mother, who, I'm sure, has shared this information with her son. Who wouldn't? If I had an attractive son and girls fawned all over him and I was privy to their crushes, I would absolutely tell him about it. So let's just assume that the Hot Son knows I think he's cute. That sort of makes me want to crawl into a hole and hibernate until the Hot Son inevitably meets a leggy model-type and marries her. That makes all the times I giggled and bumbled words in front of him all that much worse. I am a complete moron.
Part Two: My Brother
This is what I was wearing this morning:
1. Pajama pants (cat printed and shrunken so that they crest above my ankle bones)
2. Power Puff Girl socks (with rubber-soled bottoms)
3. A t-shirt from a now defunct Mankato bar (size XL)
It's important that you know what I was wearing because that's how I looked when my brother pulled into the driveway this morning. Turns out he'd spent the night in the cabin with some of his friends, including this boy he works with, and they'd gotten real drunk. Now they were hunting for sustenance. They wanted coffee. I'd just baked blueberry muffins. They wanted those, too.
If it had been any of Adam's old-time friends--boys who are come up to my neck, or boys who are unbelievably lanky and gangly, even at twenty-two years old--it wouldn't have mattered. They've seen me worse. They'll see me worse in the future. But this boy, this new co-worker of Adam's was, well, cute. He was tallish. He was nicely built. He had big, big, big eyes. Dark eyes. And here's the kicker: he's Midwestern.
"He's from Wisconsin," Adam informed me during introductions. "You two have a lot to talk about. By the way, you look real hot right now, Jess."
And then he was off to talk to my father about car batteries and Starbucks coffee. The Wisconsinite stood in the kitchen with me as I took another pan of muffins out of the oven.
He used to go to school at a college where I'd tried to get a full-time professorship. We talked about Milwaukee and the Safe House. We talked about the Miller brew tour, baseball, and football. He made snide remarks about the Minnesota Vikings. I told him that when I moved to Minnesota I was forced to sign a piece of paper that stated I would forever hate the Packers. "It's okay," he said, "I hate the Packers, too."
"Just so you know, our hockey team totally whooped you the last time we played you. And you guys were, like, second in the nation," I told him.
"Yeah, well who's got the trophy now?" he asked. He eyed up my blueberry muffins.
"Still," I said, "that was a really great night."
He and my brother left a little while later. They were headed for Denny's because they were hung over and in need of grease, which is an impulse I completely understand. Last week after my classy romp all over the backroads of the Middle of Nowhere, New York, I woke up the next morning and ate two pieces of wedding cake, two pieces of toast, an egg and cheese sandwich, and a bacon bleu cheese burger all in the span of six hours. I didn't feel normal until I swallowed the last bite of burger.
The Wisconsinite wanted pancakes and bacon. He wanted butter. He wanted coffee. "It's just that I drank another giant beer right before I came up here," he whispered to me as my father and brother came back into the room. "I really need pancakes right now."
They left with two thermoses full of coffee and napkins full of muffins.
I turned to my father's girlfriend. "He couldn't have called?" I asked. "Really, he couldn't have given us a heads-up? How was I supposed to know he'd gotten attractive friends?"
"He's waving at you," my father's girlfriend said.
And there he was, leaning out of my brother's truck and waving as they backed out of the driveway.
"Oh God," I said. And then I ran into my room and tried to tell myself that I looked halfway decent in pastel rubber-soled socks and too-short pajama pants. I tried to convince myself it was charming and showed how laid back I am. But none of that is really true. I don't know if you can recover from cat-print pajamas. I don't know if there are enough words to apologize for my knotted hair. But I do know I am going to thump on Adam the next time I see him, then I'll just accidentally stop in to where the boys work to prove that I can, if given enough warning, look sort of decent and not like a homeless girl who just so happens to make a killer blueberry muffin.