Carter had enough. As much as Stuart tried to get his word through Carter’s thick hearing, it was to no avail. And it seemed to be too late.
Carter went to his drawer, shuffling through his underwear drawer until he found a pack of cigarettes with a few left inside. He hadn’t bought a new pack for months since his grandfather died. So taking a puff was going against his grandfather’s lungs, but he needed a fix. He needed to relax.
Stuart was stubborn, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that if Carter by any chance told Stuart of his hidden desires, then he might lose the best friend he had ever had. And a childhood friendship would end. The fear drove him to take another puff, watching Stuart pull his suitcase through the door without another word. Not even to tell him to put it out, as if he wanted him to die faster, he wanted him to inhale the smoke, and let it travel to the same place just to kill him faster.
But Stuart didn’t think anything like that. He knew just by seeing Carter rummage through his stuff that he was pissed at the fact that Sebastian and he weren’t getting along, but he had something more pressing to get to. So he looked at Carter nonchalant and closed the door behind him slowly.
Stuart had packed his bag for the weekend for the special surprise that he didn’t wish for. His parents had planned the perfect night for the most important day, his 18th birthday. A day that Carter seemed to ignore or possibly forget. A day he slowly began to regret. A day that he felt was a lie to what family really was, a disguise for his so-called normal family.
Having realized the memories he shared with his family wasn’t what they were supposed to be, seemed to crush his normally cool shell.
She wasn’t his mom, she was the woman who raised him. But somehow that part didn’t register to him just yet.
He opened the door, dropping his travel bag on the floor as the woman wrapping her strong arms around him. “My baby, happy early birthday!” she yelled.
“Thanks,” he said. He picked up his bag and left the front door, with his mother standing there confused.
Instead of following him to figure it all out, she stayed in place watching him walk away. She shook his head and assumed that whatever it was would soon be long forgotten and he’ll get back to his normal self. She walked to the kitchen where his father was drinking a cup of orange juice.
But she knew something was off. She could sense it ever since he went back to school, she had this cloudy atmosphere following her as soon as he left the attic. Like he knew something he wasn’t, but she couldn’t just ask because then if he didn’t, he would then.
“Honey what’s the matter, “his father asked, heading to the cubit
She just stood there, relaxing her tensed body. “When are the reservations?” she asked.
His father nodded, putting back the cookie jar that he was so close to stuff in his mouth.
Stuart laid on his bed dreading the annual birthday dinner that he had to attend. It wasn’t as if he could fake being sick, he thought. His mother would see right through it, so he decided he’ll confront them all, and see who knew and who didn’t.
He took a hot shower, letting the steam cover up his entire bathroom before getting dressed in the laid put clothes his mother had arranged for him. He put on his black suit, again matching with his family, and combed his hair back.
As he walked down the stairs, his older brother by 4 years Charles. He ran his hands through his smooth fair, messing it up, as he rushed down the stairs. Even though he was older, there was nothing mature about him except for his job. He was a lawyer somewhere on the east coast.
Everyone was dressed and ready. His mother walked over to him trying to fix his messy hair that Charles in the corner laughed at.
“I can’t go.” Stuart had mustered the confidence to say the most important thing. He didn’t know how it came out. Maybe it was the fact that she licked her fingers and rubbed her saliva through his hair to smooth the parts she could, but he said it.
He took a deep breath and mustered a smile to keep everyone calm. “We need to talk?”
Stuart moved to the living room, asking everyone’s confused faces to sit in front of him. Charles on the edge of his seat question what had gotten in Stuart’s mind that he would consider telling their parents no. Especially since he would turn 18 in less than 6 hours. He wasn’t an adult yet, so he didn’t have the authority to call a family meeting unless it was something serious, unless…
“Who’s my mother?”
It was serious. Charles sunk into his seat looking away from everyone shocked and stiff faces, letting go of a cough.
His father spoke first after several silent seconds, “I’m sorry what?”
“I said,” he paused exhaling. “Who is my mother?”
“I’m your mother,” his mother whispered. Barely anyone could hear, but Charles who had super hearing could hear her faint voice.
“I saw the pictures, they look alike. You think you could cover it up cause they look alike!”
“Stuart. Your birth mother died an hour after you were born, I’m your mother now.” She said louder.
“My birth-mother,” Stuart scoffed, shaking his head at everyone, at everything. They all sat there calmly as if this wasn’t the biggest deal of their lives. His father lid to him about who his mother was and this woman lied to being his birth mother. Yet this older brother was sitting there, looking behind himself the entire time, trying to avoid the conversation that he was afraid of for a long time.