By Arya F. Jenkins
When you fly out of the closet, don’t come at her like a monster, eyes wide, arms out like a bogeyman. You will scare her half to death. Stand fast on those heels, braving hands on hips, smiling at her through your roughly rouged cheeks and lipstick-smeared lips, like “who is the better mom?”
Or you can just wait there at her vanity, playing with her powder and perfumes, comfortable in the maternity top you donned as a dress, sure you picked the right heels with the open toes to go with it that sit crossed one over the other under your bare feet underneath the vanity.
Hand on chin, you ask yourself, how should you pose for her, your mother, now treading the hall, heading toward you. A streak of fear glances from your eyes in the mirror making you crouch quick as the door flies open and your mother enters, crosses over to your parents’ bed, tosses herself there as off a cliff, then turns to your father’s pillow, beats it, and weeps.
“Mama, mama.” Coming out from under the vanity, you approach the bed soundlessly on bare feet, climbing on top of it to the mountain of your mother with her dark, splayed hair and rich, sad smell and tears that bite your heart. “Mama,” you brush away hair from her face, so surprised she opens her eyes a little and sees you, the full length of her little boy perched on her pregnant belly, gazing at her with awe and perturbation.
“Billy, my darling boy,” she says. “I need a man in the house, not another girl.” She hugs you then, so hard you are not able to breathe, not able to ask how you look, or if you did a good job with her makeup, all of which now seems inconsequential. For even at your age you already know it is up to you now, all the happiness in that house will be your responsibility.