by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
Even through the darkest phase
Be it thick or thin
Always someone marches brave
Here beneath my skin
Has always been
The DiStefano home, London, Ontario, mid- October…
Owen DiStefano sat in the large wooden rocker in the living room. Nearly Post-med and yet insecure as old hopes and even cravings had fallen by the wayside. Unattached and living at home, with his hands bearing metaphorical burns from carrying a torch…
“Honey? Lisa Caro said that Christina is home for Thanksgiving…” Owen frowned at what he considered his mother’s misplaced enthusiasm. It felt bleak…even dark.
“Thanks, Mom,” he said weakly as he limped slowly down the hall toward the kitchen.
“What’s wrong? Owen?” Carly asked. He shrugged as if he didn’t know his own mood, but she folded her arms with a smile and shrug of her own.
“I know you care for her, Owen. Is it because she’s there and you’re stuck here?” Carly avoided both “L” words…at least for the moment. Her glance around the home brought another shrug as he looked away and spoke.
“No… not really.” Owen paused. Christina was only a short trip down 403, but he was still wondering what his own next steps were after school
“What then honey?” The endearment was likely the most ironic clue she might get if he stopped talking, but he shrugged one last time, more out of surrender than indifference.
“She … um…just girls, Mom. I’m not a girl.” He sighed at the obvious as the inevitable feeling of hopelessness sapped his strength.
“I suppose that means we have our work cut for us?” Carly smiled and casually walked into the living room.
“We got this, honey,” another voice called from the front doorway.” Owen’s other mother Laurie walked in and sat down at the kitchen table. She grabbed the carafe in front of her and poured herself a mug of coffee.
“Oh, hey babe.” Carly kissed Laurie on the top of the head as she returned and sat down. Owen leaned against the fridge in a self-hug.
“I think I’m following you, hon,” Laurie said as she sipped her coffee.
“Yep. We should jettison the slow and steady approach, you know?” Carly said, pointing to the book in her left hand.
“Just in case?” Laurie asked, but her gaze was on their son instead of on her partner.
“Yep. We want what’s best for Owen and Christina. And only they will know that, no matter what we want or think? She’s such a sweet girl, and I of course hope that this is a good thing for her.”
“What about me, Moms?” Owen shook his head, literally sending tears back and forth across the kitchen table.
”What about what’s best for me?” He was on the verge of the rest of his life but still felt like a little kid who had been left off the invitation list for a birthday party. What good would any this plan accomplish if he remained himself? Maybe living in the shadow of two extremely talented mothers was too daunting, but that was just the beginning. Laurie caught the look on his face; an altogether too frequently displayed expression despite her and Carly’s efforts at encouragement.
“We love who you are, Honey.” That endearment was soothing at one time but left him feeling awkward.
“But we trust that we might know what you really want. You remind me of me when I was your age, Owen. Your Mom?” Laurie patted Carly on the arm.
“She figured out and helped me discover myself. It’s not what you’ll do, honey. It’s who you are. We can try this, but if it isn’t the best for you or Christina, everything will just be the way it is now.” At the word now Owen gasped and mouthed ‘oh no’ without a sound. That feeling of darkness seemed to illume his heart’s desire by contrast.
“That settles it, sweetie. We waited as long as we could, but I believe it’s time!” Carly patted the book and got up.
“Another pot of coffee? This could take some time.” Laurie said even as she grabbed the bag of coffee from the cabinet.
“Special blend?” Carly laughed. The next hour or so would be oddly magical in a very real sense, but the coffee?”
“Just Timmy’s” Laurie held up the bag even as Carly moved the large wooden rocking chair into the center of the living room.
“Is this going to hurt?” Owen cringed. “I’m such a coward, Mom.”
“Only if it doesn’t work, and every day if it does.” Laurie called from the kitchen, but Carly added,
“But every day will be wonderful.” She maneuvered her son into the chair.
“Besides, apart from your Mom here, you are the bravest person I know” Carly said pointing to a now- blushing Laurie,
“Do you trust us?” Laurie’s question was greeted with a slow nod and nervous smile. She grabbed Owen’s cane and literally threw it across the room.
“Hold on, Honey.” His moms said in unison as Carly opened to a page almost halfway through the book; made easier to locate by a bright pink bookmark.
“Before we start, you need to you know that youwere talking in your sleep last night.” Owen knew he tended to sleep fitfully, but he looked back and forth between them as they smiled almost conspiratorially.
“If we heard wrong, this will just end here, but you really sounded so sad. You were crying hard and you kept calling out her name.: Laurie said.
Owen looked askance at them and spoke.
“No, Baby mine.” Carly answered and nodded as she was joined by Laurie as she spoke with a soft laugh,
As the name sounded, Owen fell back in the chair. He felt as if he had been hit by a lightning strike, and everything went black.
Thanksgiving evening….two years later…
“You wash and I’ll dry?” Two young women stood side by side at the double sink. The taller of the two turned and waved at her Mom. Lisa waved at Christina and blinked back tears. Her daughter was slated to graduate from her doctoral program in December and had already been accepted into a local practice. She clung to Nan, her partner and Christina’s other Mom.
“Christina Caro, DVM.” The girl next to her said as she spoke to the Sheltie sitting at her feet. Ginger wagged her tail as if she understood.
“And Ellen DiStefano, DVM,” Christina answered back.
“Mrs. Ellen Caro-DiStefano,” Laurie called from the dining room. She rose and was quickly joined by Carly.
“Doctor-wives,” Carly said as the four women beamed with pride at their daughters.
“I was worried for a while.” Lisa said as she looked back and forth between the two at the sink..
“Yes,” Nan said. “When you told us, of course we knew the spell would work, but would it be what was best for them? Would it really work?”
“Well,” Lisa said as she started to laugh softly. She smiled at Carly and then back and forth between Nan and Laurie.
“It really worked for you two.” Nan and Laurie nodded.
“Well, there’s that,” the former Dante Caro said
“Well, Carly not only knew what she wanted, she knew what I needed… what I craved…”Laurie, the former Lorenzo DiStefano added. She smiled as she gazed at Ellen and Christina, noting that their daughter –in-law was probably about three weeks from blessing both families with twin granddaughters.
And Carly nodded with a broad smile before stepping close to draw the love of her life into a very satisfying kiss…
Maybe a great magnet pulls
All souls towards truth
Or maybe it is life itself
That feeds wisdom
To its youth
Has always been
Songwriters: K. D. Lang / Benjamin Mink
performed by Charlotte Martin
K D Lang
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