The Unexpected Thing

oh happy day

Today, 8 May 2011, is the eighteenth birthday of my closest companion (bar the cats) of the last two years. Or would be if, you know, he were an actual person rather than an imagined construct, a character in a novel nobody but myself has yet read all the way through. As of today, Nathaniel Walker is enfranchised; some time in the next thirty days, when the post office is open, he’ll have to fill out one of those little cards to register with Selective Service; later this month he’ll be graduated from high school. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where he resides, if it were a weekday, he could go to town hall for a marriage license without his parents’ consent…if his fiancé weren’t still seventeen for a few more months.

Actually, I’m not entirely certain of the legalities. Rustam Shirazi was legally emancipated in the fall of 2009: in the law’s eyes, he has no parents. Nevertheless, I expect they’d wait at least until Rusty turns eighteen on 2 August.

This year, in the United States and a number of other countries, today is also Mother’s Day. That Nate’s birthday would coincide, any year it fell on a Sunday, with that holiday was not intentional: I merely needed a Friday in early May of 2009. It irritated him when he noticed it—not especially gracious about sharing the spotlight. When I noticed it, I deliberately gave his boyfriend my own mother’s birthday. I’m not at all certain Lee Jeffers would appreciate the sentiment. She thoroughly disapproved of Mother’s Day, a commercial stratagem of the greeting card, floral, and candy industries, saying she was a mother every day of the year and her children had better not forget it.

Eleven years after her death, I have not forgotten. Nevertheless, though I share her cynicism about the holiday, I wish all mothers and their children who do like to celebrate it a happy Mother’s Day.


Lee Jeffers, 1926 - 1999 (portrait by Sam Manning ca mid-1950s, ineptly photographed by AJ)

Now I need to get back to that short story I started the other day.

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