A Man Named Theodore

“Babies are flowers,” my mom tells her, smiling that happy, graceful smile I know so well. “They blossom and they bloom, and they are wonderful beings of joy. But beware, because some day, they will also learn to talk.” She laughs a small chuckle, a tiny thing, but it still manages to sound like peaceful bird song, or a faint breeze through the trees.

My aunt smiles nervously, rubbing her stomach over and over like it’s a golden lamp, and she’s Aladdin. Only she doesn’t wish to be a thing of riches, a thing of royalty. She just wishes for an easy birth, a painless one, really, and a beautiful baby. One of elegance and delicacy, yes, kind of like a flower.

“I just hope she doesn’t turn out like her father.”

Pink streamers cover the walls, little weavings of binkies and rocking horses draped on the backs of the chairs. It is Aunt Lucy’s baby shower, and I am honestly only looking forward to the chocolate cake we get to eat after the watery broccoli soup.

“Oh, I’m sure she’ll turn out just like her wonderful mother,” Mom says quietly, obviously knowing that she’s stepping around eggshells with this topic.

Just when my aunt’s about to respond, an all-too familiar man opens the door. His beard’s down to his chest, his cheeks are smudged, he’s thin to the bone. Overall, even though he’s a grown man, he looks like such a pitiful sight that I can’t help but feel sorry for him.

“Theodore?” Aunt Lucy gapes, her bulging eyes looking like they’ll pop right out of their sockets.

“Yes, Lou, it’s me,” he replies in an obviously anxious voice, and everything shatters.

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