I turned from my computer when I heard the deadbolt slide, my body twisting in my chair. “Well good morning,” I said to son Sean, left eyebrow raised, “you’re home late.”
“Yeah,” he replied with a left shoulder shrug, “We went out after work.”
Intent on getting back to my writing, Sean’s tone made me inhale, bite the right side of my lower lip with my lateral incisor, check my watch surreptitiously, decide that I had plenty of time before I had to get ready for work and ask, “Everything okay?”
“Yeah,” he repeated, repeating his single shoulder tic.
Sean closed the front door and then stood motionless and mute on the tile vestibule. I inhaled, exhaled, turned back to the computer, hit “save” and twisted the office chair on its five floating castor wheels to provide me with a more comfortable angle of my baby boy, asking, “How is it outside?”
“The weather? Not too bad. Maybe… like eighty-four?”
“Jesus Christ,” I mumbled, shaking my head. “Four-oh-eight in the morning and it’s 84 degrees. Madre de Dios, ¿por qué me mudé a Florida? Wanna sit by the pool?”
It was Sean’s turn to raise an eyebrow. “Sure,” he said, elongating the word and nodding minutely. “Let me get a beer. Want one?”
I scowled. “It’s four a.m. I’m good. How many have you had?”
“One less than enough,” he responded, smiling and walking past me to the refrigerator. We walked out the massive, hurricane resistant sliding glass door that opened onto our screened in birdcage. Sean turned on the pool’s lights while I sat, my body immediately starting to sweat in the predawn heat and humidity, he sipping and both of us listening to the crepuscular creatures behind our house begin to stir in their strip of spongy wetland.
“How’s Loren?” I asked, Sean’s minute head shake and minuscule raising of his lips in sardonic smile bringing me both sorrow and satisfaction. ‘Nailed it,’ I thought, immediately followed by, ‘Hey, Tony? You know you’re a dick sometimes?’ I self-admonished. ‘Yeah, tell me about it,’ continued the silent conversation inside my head.
“She’s good,” Sean said, puckering his lips and nodding. “We had a little tiff about flirting,” he added, taking another sip of beer.
“Hers or yours?”
“To begin with or end?”
“Hers, then mine, followed by ours.”
“And?” asked I, ever open to the open ended inquiry.
“She had a table of guys who crowded the dividing line between inappropriate and out of bounds at work tonight. She was upset and I may have said something along the lines of, ‘You play with fire and you get scorched fingers.’ Pissed her off.”
“Ah. the true but ill-timed observation. Know it well,” I admitted. “She was flirting first?”
“Define, ‘flirting.’ She was doing her job and so yeah, I mean, a little? They were out of line.”
“And so were you?”
Sean rolls his eyes skyward. “Yeah,” he admits with a heavy exhale. “I mean, I don’t mind her flirting with other guys, I really don’t, but when she uses it to get what she wants and then complains about the consequences it’s just- I don’t know? Disingenuous?”
“Dude! Big word! I like it. Disingenuous how?”
“Disingenuous like a waitress in a Brestaurant complaining that she’s treated like an object while she’s concussing can-cans and bouncing her booty to rake in the tips?”
“Craft Street is not a Brestaurant and Loren is not Sheikh YaBooty.”