Henry household get togethers or holidays were always a celebration filled with spirited conversation, fun and jokes. My father found a way to celebrate anything like a game from ten years ago or a week without him going insane.
Meet the family man Thierry Henry.
But tonight was a little different and even though we were supposed to be celebrating, what exactly I wasn’t sure, and there was a lovely dinner prepared for us in the dining room the usual chatter of conversation was replaced with awkward tension and silence. I had been picking at the fresh pasta on my plate with my fork, dragging it across the expensive porcelain of my plate without an ounce of care.
And though I could feel the warmth of my boyfriend Alex to my right, his demeanor was unusually cold towards me. I guess it being good reason.
If my father would have known this dinner would fall on this day, this week, he probably wouldn’t have suggested it but alas here we were. Here I was, struggling between bursting out into a rant like a hormonal teenager and just sitting here continuing to drown in the silence.
My dad loved Alex except in this moment. He knew that he was the reason I may possibly make a decision he didn’t like and for that, they were to be natural enemies until he got his way. If my dad didn’t get his way? Well then he would just have to be stuck hating Alex forever.
He didn’t feel comfortable thinking that I was making decisions based off of my boyfriend and not strictly myself, following the mantra that I was a strong woman who needn’t make decisions based off of a man but the fact of the matter was it was impossible not to. I was in love and my love was in London.
But there was a job opportunity waiting for me in Australia, the sort of job opportunity that you long for and dream about. Had I been single, I would have easily taken it but I wasn’t. I was in a long-term relationship and I didn’t see that surviving if I moved to an entirely different place.
Alex didn’t know what I was going to decide so maybe that was why he was so quiet at dinner, only uttering thank you’s to my mom whose cooking he loved but aside from that he was fairly quiet. Everyone was quiet.
My phone buzzed in my pocket and I pulled it out, revealing a text message from my younger brother who was seated across the table.
I didn’t get a chance to type up a reply as my mother cleared her throat. “Phones.” I could have been a woman aged at 22 but that didn’t revoke my mother’s rule that no phones were allowed during dinner. Even Alex had gotten scolded a few times but he learned better eventually.
I stuffed my phone away, taking a moment to glance at Alex who still wasn’t returning any looks my way. I didn’t know how much longer I could take this…
Practically slamming my fork down onto the plate, I managed to get everyone’s attention. I took it while I had it. “Great dinner, huh?” I questioned sarcastically. “Food’s great. Conversation is amazing. Wow.”
My dad warned me with a sharp glare not to continue but I ignored it. If everyone was going to be stuck in this sullen mood because they weren’t sure if they were going to get their way, so be it. But I wasn’t participating and I was growing tired of holding in my thoughts. “Might as well pack up for Australia if all of the family dinners are going to be like this from now on. Or maybe I’ll just not go there and go to some other place far away, hm?”
“Babe…” It was Alex this time giving a warning but just like before, I ignored it. I turned to face him and said, “You have something to say?”
His eyes shut for a moment, probably willing himself to not let his mouth speak before his mind steered him in the right direction. He wasn’t the type to be disrespectful in front of my parents so arguing was out of the question.
“Nope. Absolutely nothing,” Alex said in response and turned back to the plate in front of him. I could tell by the way his jaw flexed that he had a hell of a lot to say but would withhold it…for now.
“Anyone else have anything they want to say?” I directed the question at everyone at the table but didn’t expect anyone to offer any real response. I stood up from my seat and walked towards the head of the table, hands clasped in front of me as I began to speak. “Good. Then I’ll speak. I’m really tired of this unnecessary tension at this table. It’s completely unnecessary.”
“You’ve already said that,” my brother piped up. I scowled to get him to cower back into his seat in silence.
“Like I was saying…this is ridiculous. Everyone’s all up in arms because they don’t know what decision I’m going to make. Well let me settle it for everyone. I’m not moving to Australia.”
I could imagine Alex pumping his fist under the table while I was for sure my father had heaved a sigh of disappointment because I heard it dramatically push past his lips. My mother showed no visible signs of reactions and my brother, well, he probably didn’t care regardless.
“And I should add that I’m not moving mainly because I’m pregnant and I know this isn’t the best way to tell you all this. I was actually trying to find creative ways to do so but this seems like the right time.”
That second portion made everyone’s eyes shine a little brighter and ears perk up as if they hadn’t heard me correctly but they had. I hadn’t mentioned the chances of me being pregnant to anyone. When Alex asked where I was when I was at the doctor or if I was feeling unwell when I stuffed myself into the bathroom for an hour, I just lied my way out of his questions. But I couldn’t lie anymore.
“Oh my I’m going to pass out,” Alex said as he dropped his head into his hands. My mother squealed with delight and got up from her chair to rush over to me, pulling me into a huge hug. Her Spanish accent decorated her words as she broke out into variations of congratulations.
“Another boy in the family would be awesome,” I heard my brother say with excitement. The rest of the men at the table just sat silently for now. I wasn’t much worried about my father’s reaction but I was concerned with Alex’s.
We’d never really talked about kids, always vowing to use protection but apparently at some point we slipped up and now here we were about to be parents. I broke away from my mom and looked to my boyfriend. “Alex, can you come with me for a second?” I began leading the way into another room for privacy and I could hear his footsteps soon following behind.
I turned to face him and quickly began spilling my feelings. “I hope you’re not mad that I told you like this but I couldn’t help it. I wanted you to know. I wanted everyone to know and I don’t want my dad to be mad at you for a decision I made on my own.”
“No. Let me finish. I know we didn’t really talk about us having kids. It’s just been sort of a topic we’ve avoided but it’s real. It’s happening and there’s nothing we can do about it now. I just want to know you’re not completing hating me right now.”
He gave off a confused chuckle. “Why would I hate you? Because you’re pregnant and we didn’t plan for it?” Alex grabbed for my hand, placing a gentle kiss to the top of it before looking me square in the eyes. “I’m sorry if my reaction scared you into thinking I’m upset but I’m happy. I promise I am. It just took me by surprise. I wish maybe you didn’t tell me while we were at dinner with your parents, especially with how it’s gone so far but trust me. I’m happy.”
The sound of a throat being cleared sounded off from behind Alex, causing him to turn around and for me to look over his shoulder. There was my dad, his hands stuffed shyly into his pockets and his eyes wandering as if he was deciding whether to further encroach on our moment or to just speak from there. Alex helped him make that decision by letting me go and walking out of the room to leave us alone.
“If you’re coming in here to yell at me for not taking the job, I’m really not in the mood to hear that.”
“I didn’t come to yell at you,” he said. “In fact I’m proud of you.”
Hearing him say that caused my head to cock back in confusion. “Proud? Are you sure that’s the word you’re meaning to use?”
“It is,” he smiled. “I shouldn’t have tried to pressure you into taking the job. I mean, it is a really good job but I get that your life is here and that you’re an adult now. These are your decisions to make and it’s not up to me what you decide.
A smile broke apart my lips while my arms folded across my chest. “I’m glad you’re seeing things my way.”
“Plus how could I see my future Gooner if you’re all the way in Australia?”
gif credit to 6bosscielny