12 Days of Gabriel–A series of vignettes told from Gabriel’s POV:
Mad for You #6
We were at the zoo—someplace I’d always wanted to go to but never had. Not even as a child. There were varying reasons as to why but it all boiled down to—Not. Going. To. Happen.
This is what normal felt like. Walking around with your girl, holding hands, browsing the gift shop, sitting on benches and people watching—I liked it. The whole time I kept catching peeks from Emma. I pretended not to notice.
I wondered if she felt the same too. Did she feel we were normal? Did she like it as much as I did?
Could Emma see forever?
I could. I imagined coming back here with our children. Yes, our children. Considering the dysfunction in my upbringing and the lack of father in hers, children logically might’ve been the last thing to be desired, but I so didn’t care.
I wanted children with Emma. Years ago, back when we were barely more than children ourselves, I imagined them with her. Twins. Or at the very least a boy and a girl. I’d love more, but that was only if Emma agreed.
Inwardly I snorted. It would do little for my image for people to know I longed for marriage, family, barbeques…all the clichés and customs fascinated me to no end. I looked forward to the day when I learned how to cook, to do all the things that would let Emma know I could provide for her more than just a portfolio. The idea of buying diapers on my way home from work was a closely-held delight to my heart.
But I was clearly getting ahead of myself.
Right now it was enough that Emma was by my side, hand in mine, and happy to be there. I could see it in her eyes, even when I wasn’t supposed to know.
That was okay. She could have her secrets and I could have mine. Eventually we’d share.
My phone rang. Strange. Everyone knew not to call me unless it was an emergency. I looked at the ID. It was my mother. “I’m sorry, Emma. Let me grab this. I’ll be back in a minute.” I walked away from her, somehow knowing discretion would mean everything as soon as I answered.
“Mom?” I smiled, hoping she could feel my love for her through the phone.
“Gabriel, I’m so sorry to be calling you while you’re on your date.”
I heard the distress in her tone, no matter how calm she tried to keep her voice. It was the strangled sound of unhappiness I’d heard practically my whole life. My gut turned cold. It couldn’t be good. “No, no, it’s fine. What’s wrong?”
“It’s Embry. She’s here.”
I froze.Normal immediately became the fantasy that would always remain just that–something to dream but impossible to obtain.