The family is around me. There is a party hat on my head. They are singing a birthday song to me. I do not know when my birthday is, but I know it’s not today. I look out the window, it’s Summer, my birthday is in the Winter. Is it in January? Is it in March? There’s a gift in my lap. The girls are begging me to open it. I open the present and pull out a T-shirt. It says “My Crazy Family,” there is a dried reddish brown spot on the sleeve. It’s a stain, is it what I think it is? My eyes meet Beverly’s, and I force myself to look away. She understands the effect her eyes have on a man. I suspect she’s been perfecting her seductive stare for a long time. I hear her husband, the doctor, encourage me to put the shirt on. He has a camera around his neck. Is this some kind of birthday picture? Am I a part of this family, this ‘crazy family?’
There was cake, drinks, and the family talked amongst themselves about past birthdays and future plans. The girls bickered with each other, and the next minute laughed as if they didn’t argue at all. Their mother smiled at all of us, with her eyes carefully studying me, she has the same pride and warmth as my own mother. Is this my new normal? Is this my new life? Is she my new mother? The time passed quickly, and the photo was carefully placed in a frame. I held the frame in my hands and looked at the picture. I surprised myself by no longer feeling fear or hatred, instead I felt a quiet apathy. I looked out the window, it was such a pretty day. Beverly’s hand touched mine.
“He’ll take you out too one day. But for now you’re stuck inside with me.” It’s strange. I used to hate my life. I hated my mom, my girlfriend…
Beverly pressed her body against mine. “I could be a better mother, and girlfriend to you than they ever could.”