“Who is this girl, Bernie? I didn’t even know you had a girlfriend. Did you know he had a girlfriend?”
His father looked stern. “I don’t think she was his girlfriend, Amie.”
A momentary silence, then broken by his mother:
“I’ll bet she thought so.”
His parents looked at each other. He looked down at his shoes.
“What were you thinking, Bernie? You just got home. You were supposed to start classes in a couple of months!”
“I know, Ma. But I can’t do that now, can I? I have to marry her. It’s not like I can ask her to get rid of it.”
His mother looked thoughtful for a moment.
“No, Ma. I can’t. First of all, that’s my kid. Second of all, she’s Catholic.”
Amie looked a question at her husband, who gave a curt shake of his head in response. She let her elegant frame slump onto the sofa.
“Well,” she said, “I suppose you should invite her to dinner this Sunday.”
Sunday came more quickly than she could have imagined and brought an early frost with it. Lily was anxious and worried. What if his parents didn’t like her? His mother taught English, and she had dropped out of high school for fuck’s sake. Still, things had worked out far better than she’d thought they would. He was going to marry her, after all.
Yes, things were definitely looking up for her.
The younger kids were getting noisy downstairs. Her mother had already left for work. She knew she should have made breakfast already, but the smell of the food made her nauseous. Just thinking about it made her nauseous. She stood and began to turn toward the hallway, stopped abruptly and grabbed the dresser to steady herself, then fled to the bathroom as quickly as her legs could carry her.
They got married in a small ceremony at the courthouse. Lily wanted to be married in the Church, but Bernie explained that he couldn’t get married in the church since he wasn’t Catholic. Thankfully, she had gone along with it. It was already all but impossible to hide the pregnancy.
Amie surveyed the bride critically. She hated to admit it, but she was rather unimpressed with the girl in whom her eldest son had chosen to plant his seed. Oh, she was certainly pretty enough in a “down home” sort of way, but she wasn’t terribly bright, and she seemed given to moodiness. Perhaps that was just the pregnancy, though. “And,” she reminded herself, “she is carrying my first grandchild.” Her lips curved, and she felt a rush of warmth for the girl. She was finally going to be a grandmother! Bernie was hoping for a boy, but she’d had three sons. A granddaughter… now that would be delightful.
Bernie paced in the waiting room. The suspense was killing him. His wife was young and strong, but she was also petite. His mother kept telling him not to worry.
“She has good hips, Bernie. She’ll be fine.”
Finally, the doctor emerged. Bernie stopped in his tracks and held his breath.
“Congratulations, Mr. McGillicuddy. You have a daughter.”
Bernie relaxed. And smiled.