My parents weren’t the type that needed all the time in the world to prepare themselves for a visit. So when I called them up to see if they were interested in meeting Daniel, my mother jumped at the chance to know this unknown man. Since I met Daniel, I hadn’t mentioned him to either of my parents. There was no shame, no wondering, no unforseen circumstance that I was anticipating; it was only the fact that I thought they didn’t need to know much just yet. Baby steps, it’s about baby steps.
“Relax will you?” Daniel said as my legs bounced up and down in the passenger seat.
“I am relaxed. What makes you think I’m not relaxed? I’m totally relaxed.” I shot out the words like bullets from an Uzi.
Daniel had to smother a laugh by biting down on his bottom lip. “You sound a lot like Roger Rabbit when he’s nervous.”
“Which was like ninety-five percent of the movie.”
Daniel scoffed. “Oh come on, give him some credit.”
“No credit goes to a talking rabbit trembling for its life. If you were being hunted down I’m sure you’d be just like Roger Rabbit.”
“I’d be shaking in my boots,” Daniel smiled.
I grinned and then realised I wasn’t shaking in my own boots. The more I thought about what I was shivering about, the more I started to shiver.
“That little Roger Rabbit detour nearly did it for me.”
“I don’t even know why you’re so nervous.”
“I really want them to like you.”
“We’ll be fine.”
“I’m fine,” I said. “I’m just not sure about you.”
Daniel’s smile dropped. “Here’s hoping your father isn’t packing an AK47.”
I slapped Daniel on his arm. “Shut up.”
I rarely enjoyed people driving my own car, but when Daniel drove, for some reason I felt a lot safer. Especially since I couldn’t keep my feet still; if I were to drive we’d be bunny hopping our way there!
My parents still live in that white dreamy suburban house with a white picket fence and emerald green grass that I used to grow up in. Both my parents were nurses; a respectable profession. I had to endure silly jokes about my father being gender-challenged because of his profession, but as I grew older, so did the jokes. My father was actually going to be a veterinarian but he gave it up to take care of my mother while she was pregnant. They both lived in separate cities—long distance, obviously—but at one point, during one of their many visits, my parents became pregnant with the blessed child that was me. He knew nursing—nursing humans—and thus he became a nurse and moved for her. I guess long distance ran in the family.
“Is this it?” Daniel asked as he slowed up alongside the curb.
Shivering. Trembling. Breathing…barely. “Yep.” My voice sounded clogged.
“Fucking hell,” Daniel laughed, placing a hand on my leg, “relax, baby.”
“It’s just you mean so much to me, and they mean so much to me, and they haven’t had some good experiences with past boyfriends so I’m kind of traumatised and—”
“Hey,” he leaned in and kissed me into silence. My head held with both of his hands as he leaned across the seat. My cheeks were sizzling hot, but as they were embraced by Daniel’s cool hands, the temperature began to descend. Daniel’s lips moved with mine, not in a forcefully or highly passionate way, but in a way that felt very calculated. A calculation to calm my nerves. Lips plus kiss, equals peace.
My eyes remained closed, involuntarily sealed shut longer than I had meant it to, as he parted. He moved one hand away from my cheeks and over my heart. “See, I can already feeling you calm back down.”
I smiled. “I feel like such a pussy.”
Daniel burst out laughing. “I wasn’t expecting that description but okay. Listen, I get it, it’s nerve-wracking, been there done that. But nothing here will change my mind about you, do you understand that?”
I nodded. “I do.”
“And you feel the same way, right?”
I smiled, knowing we were talking about something much bigger as we verbalised our hopes for each other. I nodded again. “I do.”
Daniel shrugged. “Then we’re as tight as a chastity belt.”
I chuckled. “A chastity belt?”
“Like the one from Robin Hood: Men in Tights.”
I lifted a brow. “Really?”
Daniel grinned, a light twinkle in his eye. “Where is the one?—” he sang.
I quickly held up my hand. “Don’t!”
Daniel laughed. “Come on, let’s go before the neighbours think we’re casing the joint.”
“Like ganstas,” I said, throwing in a west side hand gesture.
Daniel chuckled. “Yeah, as much as Iggy Azalea’s a gangster.”
“Less talking more hustling,” I said, trying to act all firm.
Daniel saluted and then got out of the car.
After the preliminaries we settled down into the dining table for dinner. Daniel and I were sitting beside each other on one side, and my parents were on the other. I honestly regret not waxing any part of my body because I just felt like I was sweating profusely like NBA-Elliot Richards or something. I could have at least shaved. Anything! I was anxious to leave Daniel all alone just so I could sneak into the kitchen and wipe myself with a couple of paper towels; that would have been anything.
“So Daniel,” my father started. My heart wrenched and I braced myself. “You’re in New York doing…umm…”
“I’m a financial analyst,” Daniel finished, politely as always.
My father nodded. He didn’t look impressed. Or was that just my eyes and mind playing tricks on me? “Yes, yes, financial analyst. How’s that working out for you?”
“It’s great,” Daniel smiled. “I have all the perks a New Yorker my age can imagine.”
“He’s doing great,” I repeated.
My father ignored me but my mother smiled. The green eyes I get from her. As do my raven hair, although my father has raven hair too, I looked more like my mother to be honest.
“And have you always wanted to be in finance?” my father pressed onwards.
“Well, no not really.”
“So there’s a possibility that you can quit your job and simply live off someone else?”
I shot a warning look my father’s way. Are you even kidding me here? Everyone in this room knew what he was hinting at, so why would he do that?
“To be honest, sir,” Daniel started, “there’s always a possibility for a possibility. I began my career in finance only for my mother who needed some financial help, or so I thought. After she wouldn’t accept my payments, I began making a comfortable living for myself. To which I imagined—” he reached out to hold my hand “—that Anna would join me.”
My mother laid a hand over her heart and smiled. “Oh, you plan on moving in together?”
My cheeks brightened. “Forgot that little detail.”
My mother wasn’t exactly the conservative type. My father, however, was most difficult about anything. I guess he was expecting something different from me; but then again, I don’t think he realises he was young and in love too. And one-out-of-two still makes him the man he was years ago, that would have done anything, and would do anything, for my mother. He moved for her; I’m going to move, partially for Daniel. Daniel and I, really. I wanted this as much as Daniel.
“Look son,” my father began, “our Anna is the only one we’ve got. The only one I need to be happy. Without her happiness, I’m not happy. The last thing I want is for her to hitch herself up with some guy that ‘might’ stay with her in the long run. Where there’s a possibility for a possibility, I don’t want that chance to be one that hurts my Anna.”
My mother remained silent, knowing her that was in agreement to what my father said. The allusion to that miscarriage that still haunts them both is almost overwhelming. Had it not been for the fact that I was already overwhelmed to the point of numbness, I would have probably shot through the roof.
Daniel nodded when he listened attentively to my father. “With all due respect, sir, I can’t promise pain and laughter and the memories and emotions in between won’t happen. But I can promise you this: I love Anna. I have loved your daughter and I will love your daughter—” Daniel turned to me with a smile “—till she begs me to stop loving her.”
I smiled back and shook my head. Never, I thought.
My father, for the first time during the entire conversation, cracked his first smile. I breathed out in relief, feeling the weight of the world being lifted from my shoulders. Then he forked a cutlet from his plate. “Tony down the street is at it again.” Then he paused and turned to Daniel. “You don’t know Tony. Tony is this man who…”
My father may have a harsh exterior, but he always meant well. And anyone who knew my father well, knew that when he mentioned Tony, they were usually on the ‘in’ and life was good.
My mother managed to peel Daniel away from me as I wandered off and came back. My father was out getting some drinks we were missing in the house, so Daniel and I had to stand by my mother. She was soft spoken, but fiery when need be. I caught them cleaning the dishes together at the kitchen sink. My mother was washing and Daniel was drying. I had to admit, it was a pretty cute display. Men can be nurses and men can clean dishes. Welcome to the 21st century people!
“That was lovely what you said before,” my mother said.
I peered behind a wall, listening in.
“Thank you,” Daniel replied. “I wanted to make what I said feel real.”
“Definitely real,” my mother said. “It almost sounds like you have big plans for you two in the future?” the pitch of her voice rose a bit at the end, in more like a hint rather than a question.
“Possibly,” Daniel said after a pause.
“Can I offer one piece of advice?”
“You have your whole lives to do anything you want,” my mother said. “Don’t jump at every chance of an exciting possibility because it can just be the excitement and nothing more. Go slow. Go easy. Enjoy life.”
“I will take your word for it,” Daniel chuckled with my mother. “In all honesty, if there was ever a moment for the right thing to happen, then it will happen.”
“What’s meant to be, will be,” my mother followed suit.
“Exactly. See, I knew we’d click.”
“From the very instant, it was meant to be.”
Daniel laughed. “You’re so wise, Mrs. Parker.”
My mother laughed with him. “Why thank you, Daniel. And please, call me Sarah.”
I grinned. Two rave reviews!
I felt like my emotions slaved away at keeping me intact that they were the very cause of my collapse in the car and on the bed. Daniel tucked me in like the cute, caring man that he is. I slept soundly that night, knowing that my worlds were merging into a promising future.