“…Happy birthday, dear Enzo… Happy birthday to you!”
I blew out my candles as my family and a few friends were singing and shouting. It was a hot summer afternoon and the back yard was filled with music and laughter. I guess for your eighteenth birthday you were supposed to go out and sneak into a club, but that wasn’t exactly my thing anymore. I was enjoying this calm birthday celebration.
As I cut the first piece of cake, mom was shooting confetti into the air, right next to dad’s face.
“Are you trying to make me even more deaf than I already am?” he joked. I laughed and dad turned to me.
“Happy birthday, Enz. We’re so proud of you. You’re going to love college. I always regretted that I never got to go. I hope you experience everything that I never had the chance to.”
I smiled, a little sad. “Thanks, dad.”
A while later, I was sitting around the table with mom, Phil and Allie as dad was cooking up some hamburgers on the grill. The conversation had turned to the engagement and the wedding, as it often did lately. Mom was asking Allie about every detail – the dress, the flowers, the cake… She’d also started hinting about grandkids in a not-so-subtle way. I was happy for my sister, and I loved Phil like a brother, but it was kind of annoying that that had become our only topic of conversation.
But the only thing worse than wedding and baby-talk was everyone’s excitement about me going to college. Even Phil kept talking about the friends he’d made there and what an awesome experience it’d been.
Because of that, I’d been too scared to tell anyone that I wasn’t going to college. I’d been accepted into a few of them, but I’d declined. I’d always enjoyed learning new things, but not in the way school taught them. Actually, I had applied to quite a few jobs and I had already landed at least one interview. I wanted to work in gaming – design games, specifically. But I didn’t want to wait for four years before getting started on building my career.
However, when I was checking my e-mails that night and saw that I’d been invited to a few more job interviews, I felt sad. I couldn’t share some of the most exciting news I’d received yet with anyone. But I also couldn’t bear the disappointment on dad’s face when I told my dad that his son wouldn’t experience that he had missed out on.
After Enzo’s birthday party, everyone had gone to bed pretty early, which left just me and Phil. We were cuddling in the living room, dreaming about our wedding and our lives together. We’d decided not to move out of my parents’ house after the wedding. I liked being close to my parents, and there were more than enough rooms for all of us… and possibly more.
Phil and I had talked about children before, and we both knew we wanted to have a pretty big family. But lately, I’d been feeling more and more strongly that I didn’t want to wait too long.
“What are you thinking about?” Phil said, stroking my hair. I smiled. “Just about how much I love you.”
I kissed his cheek and shifted a bit on the couch. “I know the wedding is still quite a few months away, but I was thinking…” I hesitated a bit. Phil smiled encouraging. “What? You can tell me.”
“We’re still pretty young, but we’ve both got good jobs lined up. Maybe it’s not your dream career quite yet, but it’s a start. And I know we both want kids. And I just thought…”
“Maybe we should start trying for a baby?” Phil finished my sentence.
I felt suddenly shy. “Well, maybe we could just stop preventing to have a baby,” I suggested. “You know. Let things run their natural course. It could take a while and I thought, best to get a head start on things.”
Phil looked at me for a few seconds, smiled, pulled me closer to him and kissed me.
“Well, what are we waiting for then?”