Chapter 3 JANE AND FRED THE PARENTS
Do I have brothers?
I kind of wish I did. But, I have Jane and Fred and I have Marney.
I think Marney secretly thinks it’s hilarious that I call our parents Jane and Fred.
She told me the story of when I was a baby and I started talking (which was a lot earlier than most babies talk, too.) I was three months old and Fred was trying to get me to say “Daddy.” Jane wanted me to say, “Mommy.” Marney made it out to be some kind of competition. Which word would I say first?
When “Fred” came out, Marney laughed out loud.
Fred said, “I won. She said ‘Dad.’”
Marney chuckled again and informed him otherwise.
“No, she didn’t, Dad. She said, ‘Fred.’”
Then she tried to suppress another laugh.
“I’m sure she said, ‘Dad.’”
Jane tried to reassure him.
But, then the defining moment came. I said it again and this time, there would be no mistaking it.
I called his first name out loud and then blew spit bubbles.
Marney burst out laughing. She was ten years old.
She picked me up, said, “See, I told you so,” and took me to her room to show me her sports posters.
I think that’s when Jane and Fred realized Marney and I were just enough kids for them.
The next word I learned was “Jane” and then “Marney” and then “basketball.” Marney really liked that.
She watched TV sports and went to games and as soon as she was old enough, she signed up for a team. Fred was there every step of the way. Since he didn’t have a son, a tomboy would serve his needs to bond with a sports loving fanatic any day.
Jane didn’t seem to mind it either. I guess she thought that since she still had one girl left she could try to mold me into a princess. Those plans were dashed when I’d refused to wear the pretty froufrou dresses she put me in. Once she managed to actually put me in one and I disappeared. I heard her calling my name, looking for me. When she finally found me, I was outside near the side of the house, sitting in a bucket, filled with water, the hose still running. She finally stopped buying them for me.
Still, maybe every once in a while or on a really special occasion, like when Marney graduates, I will wear a dress and make Jane happy. Maybe.
Jane works as a secretary for Fred’s general contractor business. Their business used to pay the bills and the mortgage but since Marney’s accident, I noticed the stack of overdue notices are getting bigger. When the hospital’s billing department calls, sometimes Jane won’t answer the phone. I’ve heard Fred and Jane argue about what to do about it, especially since Marney wants to go to a university.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it, that such ordinary people bore such special kids?