Taking His Virgin(11)

By: Lila Younger

“Hey mom,” I say, coming in and helping her drape plastic over the furniture. “You’ve got a lot done already huh?”

“I’m going to need your help for the bed here,” she replies, gesturing at the old canopy bed. “Although we might need to wait for James. I wish your dad could be here to help too.”

Dad works as a park ranger for the National Park just outside of town. During the summer, we get lots of families who like to visit.

“Well, if the business does pick up like dad and James are talking about, then maybe he could quit and help out here too,” I say.

“Wouldn’t that be nice?” my mom says. “It would make it all worth it wouldn’t it?”

I go to one side of the bed and my mom moves to the other. It’s solid wood, and old, so it takes us a bit, but we finally manage to pull it out enough that we can wedge ourselves behind the headboard and push the bed to the center of the room.

“You know, if business does improve, we’d be able to pay for you to go to university too,” my mom says casually. “Wouldn’t that be nice?”

I stiffen. I can’t help it. We’ve gone through this argument multiple times, and it never ends well. I feel her eyes on me, waiting for an answer.

“You know how I feel. I want to stay here,” I say firmly, hoping that she’ll take the hint. But of course she keeps pushing.

“We could use someone who’s got a business degree to help us run things.”

That’s a new tactic, I think. At least one part of what I’m saying is starting to seep into her brain.

“Why don’t you go and get a degree yourself then mom?”

“Oh honey, I would, but it wouldn’t do any good for someone as old as I am,” my mom says with a weary shake of her head. “You would get much more use out of it. I think you’ll find that not having a degree can make life more difficult than it needs to be for yourself.”

“But you did just fine without a degree,” I say stubbornly. Why can’t she just listen for once? I don’t think what I’m saying is all that confusing, but you’d think I’m speaking a different language. “And I think you’ve had a great life.”

“I married your father when I was eighteen, had a kid not long after that. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good life, but I missed out on things. Things I don’t want you to miss out on.”

“So you’re just trying to live vicariously through me. That’s really great mom,” I say sarcastically. I look up and see the fury on her face.

“You know what-”

My mom’s phone rings, interrupting what she’s about to say. Probably for the best, because I’m in no mood to hold back. I’ve tried to explain so many times, but no matter what I say, it seems like what I want means nothing to her.

“Hello?” she says, giving me a look that clearly says she’s not finished with me yet. “Gary? Again? Okay.”

She hangs up.

“Your brother’s skipped school again. I’m going to go find him. We’ll pick up this conversation later,” she says as she heads toward the door.

“Or not. You already know how I feel. That’s not going to change,” I holler after her. “No matter what!”

I turn back towards the room, feeling angry and unsatisfied. I don’t even want to cover up the rest of the furniture. Not when half the stuff is too heavy for me to move alone. I plop down on the canopy bed, staring at the intricate embroidery work. I love Selkirk House, maybe even more than my mom does. She likes meeting the travelers, listening to their stories. Me, I love the house itself. Telling people about its history, showing people its secrets, preserving the atmosphere of a different time. It was me that dug up old pictures of the place at the local library to show how the rooms used to be, what sort of furniture we should buy for the main rooms that would be authentic to the times.

“Hey, I couldn’t help but overhear. Is everything okay?”

I sit bolt upright. James! I’m embarrassed that he sees me like this, lazing around instead of doing work.

“It’s fine,” I say, scrambling to get off the bed. “Just an argument.”

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