The 4th of July was a emotionally trying day for me. While my mother was dealing with her new-found independence, I had already agreed to spend the day at my father's house. I was ready to spill every detail about Scott and his suicide attempt, mental hospital stay and now rehab stay in an effort to not reveal the truth about my mother and step-father.
When I was ready to leave my father's house, the idea of going back to my mother's house made me feel ill. I know I should be there for my mom, but I just did not want to step foot in that house. I called Christopher who also did not have plans, but did have a view of the fireworks show from his 15th floor apartment.
I dropped my dog off at my mother's house and watched my step-father leave my mother alone on the holiday to go visit his friend at a bar. (A later drive-by done by my mother and her friend confirmed that he never made it to the bar.) My mother wanted me to stay and go on the drive-by with her, but I felt like I was allergic to the house. The anxiety that I hadn't felt in weeks had returned.
Christopher called to chat while I drove the 30 minutes intown to his place. Still trying to navigate the best way there, I asked him which way he went to work. He grew silent.
"I have to admit something to you," he said carefully. "That job I told you about, I was laid of from it too."
I quickly told him it was okay and to not be embarrassed. I knew other people who have been laid off twice already in this recession. I had already been very open about my own lay off and I was thankful for being so honest with him. I previously told him how embarrassed I was and how horrible I felt about myself. However, his unemployment, through no fault of his own, had triggered a Scott-like response in which my stomach sank. Like with Scott, I knew that we couldn't do a lot of things because the money wouldn't be there and I wondered if I would ever date a guy who had a driver's license, job and bank account at the same time.
I arrived at Christopher's and he met me outside. It was almost dark and there were sporadic bursts of fireworks. I got out of the car. Christopher watched me.
"You heard me when I said I didn't have a job, right?"
I shrugged. He smiled and came in to kiss me. "I just wanted you to know the truth," he said.
We watched the fireworks from his living room window. As the big finale lights the sky, Christopher's phone rings. I keep my eyes trained on the fireworks, but I listen to his conversation. I about fell over when Christopher told his brother he was with Sarah.
"Who's Sarah?" I hear from the phone.
"A girl," he responds. I smiled. I know what a girl means, it's very different than a friend. And he's talking to family.
Then Christopher thrusts his Razr towards me. "Here," he says. "Talk."
I'm confused, but I accept the phone from him. His brother sounds excited to talk to me. He asked me a lot of questions. Actually, he kind of grilled me.
"How old are you?" was the first thing he said to me after the introduction. His brother has a thick Midwestern accent as opposed to Christopher, whose accent only shows with certain words like "roof" or "coupon."
"28." Which makes me 7 years' Christopher's junior. His brother made a positive noise of approval.
"How did you meet Christopher?"
"I met him 3 years ago through his friend Matt," I paused and made eye-contact with Christopher and grinned. "He called me a whore."
Christopher doubled over in laughter until streams of tears rolled down his cheeks. I haven't brought it up since we reconnected and the comedic timing was perfect. The three of us laughed.
"What color is your hair?" he probed.
"Depends if you're asking about the roots or the color I pay good money to make it," I quipped.
We talked for about 10 minutes total, mostly about their father and the brother's family. I handed the phone back and Christopher soon hung up.
"You were really great with him," he said.
I beamed. I don't know if I ever felt charming before, but I believed I was with his brother. Of course with his brother it was easy because he was so friendly.
I ended up telling him about my family and he talked me through it. He said I should feel no guilt. All I did was use technology in ways my mother couldn't and if my mother didn't want to know, she would have stopped me. She wanted this. I showed her the truth and nothing more. He held my hand as he talked to me. Actually, he was pretty amazing about it.
Christopher turned on a movie and patted the spot next to him on the couch. I obliged and he pulled me to his side and grabbed my arm and wrapped it across his stomach. With his free hand he tickled my back. The evening was like a light switch and Christopher was on.