Silence falling – an indication shit is about to get real
Ienter my parents’ house for Sunday dinner, and silence falls upon the room. My lips purse as I study the members of my family – none of whom will meet my gaze.
I may be awkward in social situations and not always understand when someone is being sarcastic, but I do know when people were talking about me. Refusing to look me in the eyes is one of the indicators. Studying sociology while working on my engineering degree helped me to understand my social awkwardness as well as learn to appraise social situations.
“What are you hiding from me?”
“Nothing,” Mom claims.
I cross my arms over my chest and lift an eyebrow. Mom may be the sneakiest mother I know – I am unaware of any other people who had to endure their mother planting condoms in their purses when they were teenagers – but she is a horrible liar.
“The sex of the baby!” Ashlyn blurts out.
According to my quick calculations, Ashlyn is just entering her second trimester. “You should be able to have an ultrasound to determine the baby’s gender with nearly one-hundred percent accuracy now.”
“Yes, but should we? Or do we want it to be a surprise?” She bites her lip as she pretends to consider her choices.
“You want it to be a surprise,” I tell her because I know my sister. “Or rather, you want to know what the gender is, but you don’t want anyone else to know. However, you can’t keep a secret and will end up telling everyone anyway.”
Her mouth drops open before she snaps it shut and narrows her eyes on me. “Can you read my mind? Wait! Did you plant a chip in my brain?”
“I think you’re confused as to what type of engineer I am. I don’t plant chips into brains.”
She wags a finger at me. “So, you don’t deny being able to read my mind?”
“Telepathy does not exist. I’ve explained this to you before.”
“You got to admit if anyone could figure out how to read minds, it would be you.”
“Why would it be me? Do I need to explain to you what an environmental engineer does again?”
She moans. “No, not the PowerPoint. Anything but the PowerPoint.”
“My PowerPoint presentations are clear and concise.” I’m quite proud of them.
“Of course, they are, dear,” Mom says and squeezes my hand.
I stare at her hand on mine, and she immediately yanks hers away. I frown. I didn’t mean for her to yank her hand away. I’m merely confused as to why she’s comforting me. There’s no reason to comfort me unless—
“Not only were you talking about me when I arrived, you were specifically discussing my sex life.”
“I told you she’d figure it out,” Aspen mutters.
“Figure what out? I’ve told you about my sex life in the past. It isn’t a surprise.”
Ashlyn groans and covers her face with her hands. “Not again. I don’t need to hear about my sister’s sex life.”
“I’m confused. You always tell everyone about your sex life. Why do you maintain a double standard?”
Rowan removes Ashlyn’s hands from her face and taps her nose. “Because someone knows it makes everyone uncomfortable when she brings up her sex life.”
“It doesn’t make me uncomfortable. I’m quite aware my baby sister has a sex life. She is pregnant after all.” Ashlyn sticks her tongue out at me. I ignore her childish behavior. “Now, what about my sex life were you discussing?”
“I vote we leave her alone,” Lyric says before raising his hand.
“I agree,” Rowan says and raises his hand.