XVII. Idiotic Emmy
I pressed the phone between my shoulder and ear, “What? Crystal wants what?” My neck hurts.
“Sugary cereal,” Emerson responded.
I set the paper plates into the basket, “For a picnic?”
“Yeah. We’re going to drop by the store real quick-”
I closed the picnic basket. I cannot believe she wanted sugary cereal when I made all these cute triangular sandwiches.
“Piper. You know Crystal has been having a rough time since Dustin.”
I carried the picnic basket towards the car, “And you think sugary cereal will fix it?”
“It won’t, but it’ll make her a bit happy.”
“Piper. Crystal’s birthday is coming, and we aren’t going to Disney World.”
I closed the trunk, “Fuck. I forgot about that.”
A few months ago, while Emerson and I were sleep-deprived, we promised Crystal that we are all going to Disney World for her birthday if she behaves.
She did have an outburst here and there, but overall, Crystal was good. She would wash the dishes, did the laundry, and even clean up after Dustin. She yelled at him while she cleaned, but she cleaned.
“Okay. Okay. Get her sugary cereals and anything she wants.”
“Oh? Now sugary cereals fix things?”
“I don’t need your sass right now, Emerson.”
“What about my ass?”
“Alright. Alright. No more sass. I’ll meet you at the park?”
“Daddy!” I heard Crystal’s voice. ”Daddy!"
“Coming!” Emerson shouted. “I got to go check on the girl.” He told me.
“She better not be stuck between something again,” I replied.
“We can only hope. I’ll see you later.”
“You better be there on time,” I warned him. The last thing I need is a phone call about how he has to clean up the store aisle because Crystal decided to sample the cereals.
“Yes. Yes. I know. Be there or be rectangle.”
“Be on time!”
He laughs, “I love you too,” he said in a baby voice.
I rolled my eyes.
“Come on. Don’t roll your eyes.” This is what happens when you’re with someone too long. They know everything you do without seeing it. “I know you got something to tell me.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“I’m waiting for three other words.”
“Goodbye, idiotic Emmy.”
“Goodbye, loving wife.”
When the phone call ends, I look at the screen to see our family photo. I smiled, “Idiot.”
I tucked the phone into my back pocket and walked back inside the house. “Mom?”
“Still in the kitchen!”
I walk inside the messy kitchen, “How is he?” I went to my mom’s house earlier to get some advice on how to feed Dustin. Yes, I’m a mom, but that doesn’t mean I’m a complete expert in parenting. It doesn’t hurt to look for others’ advice.
And who better than my own mother?
She raised seven kids!
Mom puts down the baby’s food and wipes her cheek, “He’s a fighter for sure.” She puts down the towel, “Do you know he fakes eat the food, and when you get close, he spits it in your eye?”
“I’m very familiar with that situation. He spits the food into Emmy’s ear before.”
Mom smiled softly, “How is everything?”
I settled down on the chair across from her, “Good. Emmy just got promoted.”
Mom laughed, “I heard...for the millionth time.”
I pouted, “I can’t believe he doesn’t want to celebrate. I mean, we kind of did. We went out for ice cream.”
Mom grabbed the baby’s food. I cannot believe she is going in again. “Everyone is different.”
I laid my head down on the table, “Yes. Yes. Each person is different, and they do things in their own way. Blah. Blah.”
She scooped up some food. “You’re a mother of two now, and you still act like you’re a teenager.”
I turn my head until my chin rests against the table. “Tell my husband he is a pedophile then.”
Mom shot me a glare, “There is a baby in the room.”
I look at Dustin, “Hey. Can you pretend not to hear that?”
Dustin spits in response.
The timer rang.
“Your potatoes are ready,” mom said.
I made my way towards the oven and took out the baked potatoes. “Oh. Hot.” I placed the tray on the top of the stove to let it cool down.
Mom grabbed a clean spoon from the table and hit my nose with it. Dustin grabbed the bits of food around him and threw them in mom’s face. I burst out laughing when she glared at him.
“Do it, mom,” I said. “Break the boy.”
Dustin spits some more.
Mom closed the lid, “You need to give him a bath.”
I gasped, “You’re quitting?”
Mom points the spoon at me, “Bring the boy tomorrow night. I will find out what makes him tick.”
I chuckled and grabbed Dustin. He clapped. I’m sure he knew he won again. Up the stairs and towards the restroom. I turned on the water to make sure it was the right temperature before I took off Dustin’s clothes.
Dustin splashed the water, and it spilled all over my clothes. Then, it happened.
I held him up and pointed him towards the water. If I have him face me, he will pee on me. It happened.
After he’s empty and clean, I dress him.
In the process, he slapped my face.
I held him until he faced me, “You watch yourself, you naughty boy.”
When I bundled him up, I carried him downstairs. The front door opens, “Hey Sarah.”
Sarah looked up from the grocery bags, “Hey you. How did the feeding go?” She looked upstairs and yelled: “Boys! Help me!”
Sarah gasped, “Really?” She looked upstairs again, “Boys!”
“Yeah. Even mom can’t break down the demon.”
Sarah inhaled a sharp breath, “Bo-”
“Coming! Coming!” Loud footsteps made their way downstairs. Martin and Vinny rushed out the door with the games in their hands.
“They didn’t even see me, did they?” I asked.
Sarah shook her head, “I’m happy they’re spending more time with each other, but all they do is play games in the room. The only time I see them is during mealtime.”
“Boys got to eat.”
Together, they rushed inside and put the grocery bags on the table. They grabbed whatever snacked inside the bags and ran back upstairs.
“Boys!” Mom yelled.
“Sorry, grandma!” They screamed at the same time. The door slammed shut.
Mom threw the dirty towel inside the sink while Sarah put away the food.
I look down towards Dustin, “You won’t be like your cousins, right?”
“Oh no,” Sarah said. “He will be much worse.” Sarah and mom laughed.
Sarah closed the fridge, “What? I’m telling the truth.”
I turn my head, “Mom?”
Mom shrugged, “The boy can be a tad naughty.”
“He is like seven months old.” I look down and smile, “I’m certain he is going through early puberty like Crystal and will become an angel.”
Mom and Sarah burst out laughing again.
I glared at them, “Laugh all you want.”
“Piper. You went through puberty when you were three months old.” Mom looked up at the ceiling, “I missed the first and second month we spent together.”
“I wasn’t that bad!”
“Bad? Tyler is bad. You? It’s like taking care of four kids in one body.”
“Mom is right,” Amanda’s voice appeared. Sarah and Amanda went shopping together earlier. “You are not bad. You’re much worse. You...You-” Amanda smacked her hands together, “You’re like two Crystals combined!”
I gasped, “Take that back!”
“Yes!” Sarah shouted. “Crystal is like a clone you!”
I grabbed Dustin, “You are all so mean! I’m leaving!” I look at the snacks on the table, “And I’m taking the fruit roll-ups!” I grabbed the box and walked towards the front door.
“Your potatoes!” Mom shouted.
I made a U-turn and grabbed all the potatoes while giving each of them a nasty glare. “I’m still upset!” I walked back towards the front door.
The three of them laughed inside the kitchen. When I closed the front door, I could still hear them laughing. I look down at Dustin, who laid comfortably inside the infant car seat. “You don’t think that’s true...right?”
Dustin didn’t make a single noise.
I grabbed him and made my way towards the car. “How horrible. I wasn’t that bad of a child.” I opened the door and set Dustin inside.
I couldn’t help but smile in return before I kissed his plump cheek. “Come on. Let’s go meet daddy and sister.” I strapped him in and closed the door.
I turned around to see a group of blackbirds burst out of the mountain. My eyes widened as it flew towards us and squawked viciously. One landed on the hood of my car, “What the fuck?”
When I took a step towards the car door, he hurled his head towards me and squawked. Quickly, I opened my car door and got inside. The blackbird pounds its break against the car shield.
Then, it came.
I started the car and the moment I drove, the bird left. I circled out the neighbor and towards the main street.
As fast as the birds came, they left.
I stopped at a red light and pressed a hand against my chest.
I don’t feel too well.
I shook off the uneasy feeling, “Come on. Let’s go tell daddy what weird thing mommy just saw.”
Dustin continued to cry.
“Hey. Hey. Relax baby. We’re almost at the park.” I’ve never been more grateful to live in a small town.
When I parked my car, I got out and brought Dustin out. “What’s going on with you?”
Dustin rarely cries.
He mostly cries when Crystal takes a toy from him.
I cradled Dustin in my arms.
“Where is your dad?”
My hand digs through the bag, and I called Emerson.
It went dead.
I called Emerson again.
“I’m sorry, but the person you’re calling is unable to come to the phone. Please, leave a message after the beep.”
I called him again.
“I’m sorry, but the person you’re calling is unable to come to the phone. Please, leave a message-”
“I’m sorry, but the person you’re calling is unable-”
“I’m sorry, but the person-”