The Radiant Mother

Spencer scanned the tables of the restaurant for his mother. The numerous plants in their ornate pots stopped him from having a clear view of the room.

“Can I help you, sir?” The maître d’ who had appeared in front of Spencer had a strong French accent and sported a waxed moustache; a craze that was currently sweeping the west coast.

“Hey. Yeah. I’m here to meet my mom, Anne Kois.”

“Of course, sir,” the man responded, sounding for all the world like he already knew who Spencer was and was only asking for confirmation. “If you follow me, I will show you to her table.”

Without waiting the maître d’ turned. The dinners they passed were mature couples or small groups of friends. Spencer began to feel severely underdressed in his slacks and jacket.

“There you are, darling.” His mother stood up and Spencer bent towards the small woman so she could kiss the air next to his cheeks. The strong scent of a flowery perfume clung to him as they parted. “I’m so glad you could make it. Sometimes I feel neglected when you come to town and don’t make time for your own mother.”

Spencer took the chair offered by the maître d’. “When have I ever not seen you?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m sure there have been times.” There was only the slightest of pauses; no chance at all for any form of correction. “So, how have you been keeping?” she continued. “You look well, and that means you’re not working too hard. That’s good. I wouldn’t want to see you driving yourself into the ground like your father did. If only he’d spent more time away from the office he’d still be here now.”

Spencer nodded and took a sip from the glass of wine that had been poured for him by a young waitress.

“Still, you don’t want to hear me complain about the old days. How’s the wine? It’s a new one but the girls have got hooked on. Local as well, so no one can say we’re causing more Pacific islands to go under with our food miles.”

In the momentary silence Spencer swallowed quickly and took his opportunity. “The wine’s great mom. Robbie wanted to come over with me this trip, as we’ve …”

“How could I forget to ask you,” his mother interrupted. “How is that gorgeous husband of yours?”

“He’s great, thanks.”

She stopped him saying anything more and so he filled his open mouth with another gulp of wine.

“Good. I’m so glad you two are happy. I’ve still no idea how you managed to bag him. He’s so much better than that fool your sister has set-up home with. She could have done a lot better, but all she thinks about is the money.”

Spencer watched for a sign that she was going to take a breath, but no chance arose and so he began to flick the pages of the menu, casting furtive glances at what was on offer.

“Any news about your promotion? I notice you’ve not put anything on your private stream about it and I thought you’d have heard by now. Still, if you’re waiting I don’t need to know. Just tell me when it’s all confirmed.

“Will you be getting a bigger property with the extra cash, or are you thinking about that skiing cabin again?”

Spencer tried to join in the conversation. “No, we’ve decided against another property. We’ll need the money for something else.”

“Oh, well, that’s fine. It’s your cash after all so you’re free to do what you want with it.” It was easy to spot the disappointment she was attempting to hide. “Still, if you change your mind, I had mentioned the idea of a week away to the girls and they liked the sound of it.”

“Well we might in the future but our priorities have changed.”

“Of course they have. You’re both still young and you have your whole lives ahead of you. No need to get stuck in the rut of going to the same place every year for a break. I can remember when the Gilmores …”

“We’re going to have a baby.”

There was silence. Spencer watched his mother intently. She kept her mouth closed for almost ten seconds and then opened again.

“A baby! That’s wonderful news. When did you two decide? I thought Robbie was dead set against it?”

“No, he just didn’t think the time was right, but now, well, we’ve talked about it and it’s something we both want. We wanted to tell you earlier but …”

“No, no. You have no reason to apologise. Why should you?” She had returned to her usual state of animation. “I’m so pleased for you both. A baby! Wow! I’m finally going to be a grandmother. Of course I always thought it would be your sister, but she’s decided not to take on that role yet. And now it’s you and Robbie who are making me proud.

“Have all the papers gone through? When are you going to pick the baby up? Were the adoption agency bothered that you were a same sex couple? No, I don’t suppose they are these days. That’s how it used to be when I was young. Why, we had to fight just to make marriage between men legal. Now that was a battle. All those Republicans running add campaigns saying how it was against the natural order. There were so few states who would even consider adoption.”

“Mom, we’re not adopting, I’ve undergone the change. I’m pregnant.”

—————

23 April 2010
Potomac Conservancy have launched their Fish Mystery campaign. They are urging funds to be directed towards discovering why more than 80% of male bass in the Potomac rive are now exhibiting female traits.

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