Kayce at the Bat

sometimes people leave you, halfway through the wood
do not let it grieve you, no one leaves for good
s sondheim

I am really big on favorites.  Ever since I was really little, I have always had favorites of everything.  My favorite book is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  I love the way it dives back into the back story of Voldemort before moving forward with a plan of how to finally finish him.  But who knows?  The final book isn’t coming out until next year probably and I may love that one more.  My favorite song is “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  That’s the influence of my Uncle Kyle who has been playing Springsteen for me since before I can remember.  My favorite movie is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because I love how it makes Lupin (who is my favorite character in a book) and Sirius come to life but a close second favorite is Raiders of the Lost Ark, which is definitely my dad’s favorite movie and which is probably the movie I’ve seen the most.  My favorite scene from a movie is the one that makes me cry every time: the ending of Spider-Man 2, because when Mary Jane says to Peter “isn’t it about time somebody saved your life” it reminds me of the last thing my mom said to me.  But my favorite comic book character is Batgirl.  My uncle has a lot of Batman comics and there’s a lot of Batgirl, and she’s cool and she reads (because she’s a librarian) and she kicks butt and she’s smart.  She’s awesome.

My favorite sport is baseball.  There are people who think that baseball is boring.  My Aunt Sarah was like that – she would complain about how nothing was ever happening.  But she just couldn’t see it.  There are all sorts of things happening.  The pitcher is trying to read the catcher.  He’s trying to read the batter.  He’s trying to decide what has to be thrown and where it needs to go and what might happen if the batter can manage to hit it.  And once the pitch is thrown, once the ball leaves his hand, there are so many possibilities.  In football, you either catch the pass or you don’t.  In basketball, the shot goes in or it rebounds.  But in baseball, so many things can happen.  Every pitch of the ball, and there are well over a hundred on each side in almost any baseball game, is an exciting little game in and of itself.

My favorite team is the Giants.  They’re my Dad’s favorite team and my Uncle Kyle’s favorite team.  Yes, we live in Tempe, and if you take Sky Harbor Drive through the airport, it’s less than eight miles from our house to the BOB.  I keep forgetting that it’s called Chase Field now because Bank One was bought out but most people still call it the BOB.  In theory, we should root for the Diamondbacks and they are in first place at the moment but I don’t think it will hold.  Besides, my dad and uncle are both from the Bay Area and the Giants are in their blood and even though I was born in LA, I lived in the Bay Area until I was almost seven and rooting for the Giants sunk in.  My current favorite player, surprisingly isn’t a Giant, but is a Mariner.  It’s Ichiro, who is just amazing to watch.  He’s so amazingly fast and is so great on the field that I can’t help but root for him.  My all-time favorite player is probably Juan Marichal, who was a great Giant pitcher in the 60’s and my Uncle Kyle likes to show me film clips of his pitching.  He had this amazing high leg-kick and I wish I could pitch like him.

Baseball is my game.  But it’s not been my season.  Just like last year wasn’t Barry Bonds’ season.  I have cooled off on Barry after reading that new book Game of Shadows that came out this past year.  It’s made me disappointed in him.  It seems clear that he used steroids and the bizarre thing was that he didn’t need to.  He was one of the greatest players of all-time before he ever used them.  He just wanted to be liked.  I can’t really understand that.  But last season he missed most of the season with a knee injury and the Giants were a lot worse without him.  This year, just before our initial Little League season was supposed to start, I was hit by a car while riding my bike in the neighborhood and I got a concussion and broke my leg.  So, the season is just about to end and my team has a chance to make the playoffs, because while I think I’m a pretty good pitcher, I’m not nearly as important to my team as Bonds is to the Giants.  I hope I have a chance to play before the season ends, but I’ve been waiting to hear from my manager.  I’ve been to every one of our games, but he hasn’t had me in uniform because he says he wants to wait until I’m healthy enough to play.  I have hopes.

“Dad, what’s cunnilingus?” I ask.

I can tell right away that it’s probably a question I shouldn’t have asked.  There was noise in the room before.  I had been working on my math homework and listening to the radio.  My dad and his girlfriend Rebecca were talking over by the fridge, I think maybe discussing dinner.  But now that I’ve asked the question, they have both gone completely quiet and since I turned down the radio to ask the question, the room has gone almost silent.

“What would make you ask that?” he finally says.

“There was an interview in the radio?” I say, but I raise my voice at the end of the sentence like it’s a question, which he’s told me I shouldn’t do.

“What kind of an interview?”

I still won’t turn to look at him because it’s clear from the tone of his voice that this isn’t something he really wants to talk about.  He’s not using the Dad voice, which is a modified version of the Mom voice that my mom was so good at.  This is more the ‘can we please not have this conversation’ voice but I don’t know how to back out of it.

“You know there’s that new band I like, Tipped Velvet?” I say but when I do, I hear Rebecca snicker a little.  I still don’t know what I’m asking or why it’s bad.  Or maybe funny.

“What about them?”

“Well the lead singer was being asked how she got such a high pitched cry in the middle of the song and she said ‘cunnilingus’.  But I don’t know what that is?”

“Uh . . .” but I can hear my dad start to lose his sense of direction before he can get a word out.  Rebecca comes to his rescue.

“Bruce, how about you go get us some dinner from somewhere and I’ll answer Kayce’s question.”

“You’re volunteering to have this talk?” he asks.

“I am.”

“This must be why I love you,” he says and that’s definitely weird to hear him say.  It’s the first time he’s said that in front of me.  I hear her kiss him in response.

“Child present,” I say.

“You’re not even looking this direction,” he says.

“You think I don’t have ears?” I respond, which is probably a bit too snarky.

“What do you want from Jack-in-the-Box, Kac?”

“Sourdough Jack and two tacos.”

“That’s an odd combination.”

“You asked me what I wanted.”

“Okay, then.  I’ll be back in a bit.  Rebecca will answer your question for you.  After I am out of the house.”

“Don’t forget that I don’t like bacon,” Rebecca tells him.

I hear him leave but I still haven’t turned around and I definitely haven’t turned the radio back up.  I leave it down while Rebecca walks over and sits at the table with me.  It takes a minute before I look at her and I try getting a look at her from the side of my eyes (I forget the word for that) to see if she’s mad or amused or worried.  But she seems okay.  So I turn and look at her.

“He didn’t want to tell me,” I say.

“It’s about sex,” she says.  That explains it.  If nothing else, having Rebecca around now means I can go to her with sex questions.  Once I have them.  Which I hope I don’t.  Ever.

“So I shouldn’t have asked it?” I say.

“No, it’s perfectly fine for you to ask it.  Asking things is how you find things out.”

“So, what is it?” I ask.

“Kayce, do you know that there are different kinds of sex?”

“I’ve heard about it.”

“Okay.  Do you know where babies come from?”

“Yes.  There’s a girl in my class, Marlene, who talked about it.  A guy puts his thing inside you and then you get preggers.  Then in nine months you have a baby.”

Rebecca smiles and gives a little laugh.

“That is kind of the gist of it, yes.”

“And that’s sex.”

“Well, that’s one kind of sex.  Vaginal sex does that.  That’s the most normal, well, normal’s not the right word, average?, no not really the right word either.  Um, it’s the most common type of sex, at least between men and women.”

“But there are other kinds of sex?”  That wasn’t supposed to be a question.  It’s just the way my voice raises at the end of my sentences.

“Well, you know men don’t have vaginas.  And women don’t have penisis.  I don’t know if that’s the plural of penis.  Anyway, women and men have different equipment.”


“Well, two women who have sex often have a different kind of sex.  It’s called oral sex.  It involves using your mouth.”

“Using your mouth on what?”

“Using your mouth on someone else’s vagina.”



“That’s cunnilingus?”


“So the lead singer of Tipped Velvet is a lesbian?”

“Well, yes, she is.  But just because she has cunnilingus doesn’t make her a lesbian.  Straight women get it too.”

“They do?”

“Well, yes, a man can give oral sex as well as a woman.”

“Have you done that?”

Oh boy, was that a question I shouldn’t have asked.  She’s turned as red as one of the Diamondbacks hats.  But I don’t know how to take a question back.

“It’s not really a question I should answer.”

“Sorry.  I didn’t mean to pry.  It’s just, hard, sometimes.”

“It’s okay, Kayce.  I know it’s hard.  I can’t be your mom.  I’m sorry.”

She looks down but now I look straight at her.

“You don’t have to be my mom, Rebecca.  I like you just as you.”

Now she looks at me.  She leans over and kisses me on the forehead.  Just like my Aunt Sarah used to.  Just like my mom used to.

We’re eating dinner (the Jack-in-the-Box tacos are definitely one of my favorite foods) and definitely not saying anything about the question I asked before my dad left to go get dinner when the doorbell rings.

“Kyle?” Rebecca says.

“Kyle doesn’t ring the doorbell,” he says, getting up.  “He just suddenly appears.”

“Like Batman?” Rebecca says.

“Like Batman,” my dad and I both say.

He goes out of the room and I hear the door open.  I don’t hear who’s at the door, but it sounds like Dad invites him in.  Then in walks my dad and the manager of my Little League team.

“Mr. Evans!” I say and almost choke on the bite of taco I have in my mouth when I say it.

“Hello, Kayce.  I just came by to give you a bit of news.”

“You’re welcome to sit, Mr. Evans.  Sorry.  You caught us in the middle of dinner.”

“That’s all right, Mr. Yale.  I will sit for a minute,” he says as he takes a seat across from me.  He gives a friendly nod towards Rebecca but keeps looking at me.  Then he look at Dad for a minute.

“Well,” he says, “I talked to her doctor like you said I could.”

“And?” I ask, quickly.  “Do I get to play?”

“Well, it’s complicated,” he answers.

“How complicated?” Dad asks.

“Well, shall I start with the good or the bad?”

“Start with the good!” I say, loudly and quickly, because I just want to know if I get to play.  It’s the last regular game of this season and I don’t want to have to wait for the summer league.

“You can play, Kayce, but there are . . .” but that’s as far as he gets before I yell “Woo-hoo!”  But my dad gives me the look, so I quiet down to the listen to the rest.

“Kayce, I’m gonna have you on the bench with me.”

“What?  But why?”

“Kayce, you can play.  But you can’t pitch.”

“I can’t?”

“Kayce, you broke your plant leg.  He’s giving you permission to run, which means you can hit and you could field, but you can’t pitch.  He’s concerned that with the pressure you put on your plant leg, then you could damage your leg again.  He feels that it’s best if any pitching is put off at least until the summer.”

“But then why am I on the bench?”

“Because it’s where you’ll be needed most.”

“I don’t understand.”

“If we put you in the field, we don’t know if the other team will try to take advantage of your limited mobility.”

“You can’t run much yet,” Dad says and I roll my eyes.

“I know, Dad.  I’m not daft.”

“Daft?” Mr. Evans says.

“She reads the Harry Potter books a lot.  She’s been picking up British slang.  The other day she told me I was completely mental.”

“You were listening to the Counting Crows, Dad.  That is completely mental.”

“Well, to steer the conversation back to the game . . .” Mr. Evans says and I sit right up in my chair and pay attention.  He smiles.  He’s good like that.  He knows how much baseball means to me.

“I want you on the bench, because you’re my ace in the hole, Kayce.  I imagine there will come a point where we need a pinch hitter.  You’re the best suited for that.  You watch the other pitchers and you know what they throw.  You make good contact and you can keep from striking out.  So we might need you.  The other team won’t be expecting that.”

I sit and think about it.

“It sounds good to me,” Rebecca says.  “But I don’t really know much about baseball.”

“You ready to give that a shot, Kac?” Dad asks.

“Yeah,” I say, after thinking about it.  “I can be your Manny Mota.”

“Kayce, you know more about baseball than I do and I’ve been a Little League coach for over 25 years.”

It’s been two nights since Mr. Evans came by and told me I can play and I’ve been practicing everyday but today it got really hot outside and so I’m just inside organizing my baseball cards yet again.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  I have a lot of older cards that used to belong to my Uncle Kyle and some from my dad.  I’m constantly organizing and re-organizing them, by position, by year, by team, by last name.  Unfortunately, I have just dropped my pile of National League shortstops on the floor when I hear Rebecca coming into the room.  She’s talking on the phone and she doesn’t seem to realize I’m in the room, because I’m under the table and she can’t see me.  I don’t want to say anything because she’s on the phone but then I get stuck, just listening to her on the phone.

“How did you even hear about the story, Sam?”  I don’t know who Sam is but the story must be the story she had that just got published in Rolling Stone.  It’s really amazing.  Dad let me read it even though there’s some talk about sex in it and a lot of swearing.  It was really good.  I can’t believe she got a story published in such a big magazine.  I thought Dad might be upset about it because he’s a writer and he’s never gotten anything like that, but he seems to just be happy for her.

“You can’t honestly tell me that Mrs. Coughlin subscribes to Rolling Stone.  Ah, that makes much more sense.  You read it?  Really?  I, uh, wow.  Thank you, Sam.  That’s very nice.  Oh, well, I don’t really live in the dorm anymore.  I live with my boyfriend.  No, he has a house.”

Now it really sounds like this could become a long conversation and I am simply stuck.  She has sat down on one of the barstools.  She can’t see me and I can’t see her but I don’t think I can sneak out without her realizing I’m here.  So I’m just trying to sit here and pick up the cards quietly.

“He’s a teacher.  High school.  English.  I actually met him on the plane when I was flying out here in August.  He’s 30.”

There’s a pause and I wonder what Sam must be saying.  The way she talks to him I wonder if it’s her stepfather.  I know she has a stepfather, that her mom is sick and is in a home.

“He had a wife.  She died.”

Here it comes.  Now is when she mentions me.

“It reminds me of when I met you, Sam.  Yeah, he does.  She’s 10 and she’s amazing.  She is a bundle of joy and energy.  She plays baseball, Sam.  She’s a pitcher and the poor girl hasn’t been able to play for her whole season because she broke her leg back in January.”

There is another pause and he must be saying something to her.

“You did really well by me, Sam.  Things got tough in the end, for both of us, but you did a really good job with a really hard situation.  I only hope I could possibly be as good for her as you were for me.  Well, that hasn’t really come up.  I would have to be asked first.  Yes, I would, I would absolutely marry him.  Well, I hope so.  I like her a lot and I think she likes me.  Of course if I got married I would invite you, Sam.  Look, Sam, I really should go.  Kayce could walk in at any minute.  That’s her name, Kayce.  Yes, I’ll try to come out after Finals.  I need to see Mom.  Yes.  Thanks, Sam.  It was good to talk to you.  I appreciate everything you have ever done for me and Mom.  I hope you know that, Sam.  Well, I’m saying it now.  Okay.  Thanks, Sam.  Bye.”

I still stay under the table, as quiet as I can be.  I hear her get up slowly and walk out of the room.  I sneak out through the garage door so that I can come back in through the front door so that she doesn’t realize I’ve been home this whole time.

It’s the top of the eighth.  We’re down 2-1, with a runner on second.  There are two outs.  There’s still time to get another run but not much.  When Mike gets a 3-0 count, Mr. Evans calls Tim back from the on-deck circle.

“Tim, you’re done for the day.  Don’t take it bad.”

“Who are you sending up?”

“Kayce, you’re batting for Tim.”

It takes me a minute to react.  I’m excited, but I’m nervous.  I want to jump for joy and throw up all at the same time.  I manage to not do either, but just get up and grab a bat and head for the on-deck circle, but Mr. Evans stops me for a minute.

“You’ve got a good eye, Kayce, and you’ve been watching him pitch.  You know how to approach it.  If he throws you anything off-speed and you think you can bunt it fair, then go for it.  They’ll be surprised enough that you should be able to get to first.  But watch for what Sean is doing at second.  React to that.”


“I have faith in you, Kayce.  Just go out there and do your best.”

“Thanks, Mr. Evans.”

I take a few swings in the on-deck circle and prepare myself to get back on the field for the first time this season.  Mike gets a fourth ball and heads to first and now we have runners on first and second.  I take another couple of practice swings as I walk to the plate.

I can see the pitcher holding the ball loosely in his hand, an off-speed pitch, probably a curveball headed my way.  But I’m also watching Sean at second base and I realize as the pitcher goes into the wind-up that Sean is going to try and steal third so that a bunt would score him.  He’s off with the pitch, and since it’s a curveball, he’s got extra time that he wouldn’t have had with a fastball.  Instead of bunting, I pull back from the pitch, so that I don’t bunt it foul and screw up the plan.  It’s low and away from me, which also takes the catcher away from third base and by the time he can get the ball into his hand and throwing, Sean is going to be safe.

Now we have a different situation.  Now they’re going to be prepared for a bunt, partially because now Sean is on third and he can score on a bunt, and partially because I was showing bunt before Sean decided to take off.  The catcher calls time and runs out to the mound and I can see the two of them talking.  They have their mitts up over the mouths but I don’t need to read their lips.  I just need to be smart.

When the catcher runs back and settles into his stance, I stare at the pitcher.  He leans forward and stares at me, trying to psyche me out.  But I’m not looking at his face.  I’m looking at his hand.  And he’s changed how he’s holding the ball.  On the last pitch, his fingers were holding the ball loosely.  I could see space between the ball and his palm.  But not this time.  He’s gripping the ball so hard it looks like the seams will pop.  This isn’t going to be an off-speed pitch.

If he were to throw me another curveball, it would be easy enough for me to lightly bunt the ball and with Sean headed for the plate, it would be hard for the pitcher to get to it in time and get Sean out and we would have scored the run.  But if he throws me a fastball, he thinks I’ll bunt it back towards him hard enough that he can flip the ball to the catcher and catch Sean at the plate.

I make a decision.

When the ball comes in, hard and straight, I swing with all my might, but I keep the bat head level.  I’m not trying to hit it out of the park.  I’m just trying to line it hard enough and high enough to clear the infield and that’s exactly what I manage to do.

Sean is breaking with the pitch, but it doesn’t matter.  Once the shortstop jumps for it and fails to catch it, he’s gonna score with ease.  I don’t have to push it running to first.  But I almost trip at the end when I hear the yell from the stands.

“That’s my girl!” I hear and I can’t believe how loud the voice is.  I turn, just as I get to first base and make certain I’m safe before I see Uncle Kyle, sitting on the top of the stands, next to Dad and Rebecca and screaming his lungs out.  All three of them cheering and it feels good.  It’s the best moment I’ve ever had on the field.

“So, where are we going to celebrate?” Dad asks as we pull out of the parking lot.

“We lost the game, Dad.”

“In the eleventh inning.  After you tied the game at the key moment with one hell of a hit.  We’re celebrating.  So, where are we going?”

“Can I have a root beer float?” I ask.

“That sounds fine.”

“At Ed Debevic’s?”

There is a slight pause, but then he says “That also sounds fine.”

“What’s Ed Debevic’s?” Rebecca asks.

“Oh, this should be fun,” Uncle Kyle says with a laugh.


“Yeah, honey?”

“Can we make a stop first?”


“I . . .”  I don’t know how he’ll feel about this, so I just spit it out.  “I wanna tell Mom about the game.”

There is another pause but it doesn’t last very long.

“We can do that.”

“Thank you.”


“Go over and talk to her, honey.  We’ll be right here.”

I’m almost as nervous about this as I was when I went into the game, but I just swallow once and storm ahead.

“Rebecca, will you come with me?”

She gives me a look that says she’s just as nervous in response to this question as I was in asking it.  She looks at Dad and he shrugs a little.  She looks back at me.

“Are you sure, Kayce?”

“Yes, please.”

“Okay.  If you would like me to.”

So she walks with me, a step behind at times, since she’s never been here and doesn’t know where to go.  Dad and Uncle Kyle stay under the tree and watch us from the distance, a distance that is out of earshot.  Dad has always let me go and talk to Mom without listening in.  But today I want Rebecca to hear what I have to say.

I stop in front of the grave.  It says MICHELLE YALE, 1975 – 2003, beloved mother.  I sit down on the grass in front of the grave, because it’s more comfortable than standing.  It’s hard to see in the bright May sunlight but I do have my cap still on.  I pat the grass next to me so that Rebecca will sit down and she does.

“Hi, Mom,” I say.  “Hi, Aunt Sarah.”

Suddenly Rebecca turns and sees the grave a few feet away, where it says SARAH BARTON, 1975 – 2004, “all I ever wanted is here in my arms”.  She turns and looks back at Uncle Kyle and I realize she must not have known.  Maybe I should have told her.  But I guess there will be enough to tell.

“I wanted to tell you a couple of things, Mom.  I’m sorry I haven’t been here in a while.  I broke my leg back in January.  It was really scary and it hurt so much.  But it turned out okay.  I had someone watching over me.”  I turn a little and look at Rebecca as I keep talking.  “This is Rebecca, Mom.  She was there for me when I broke my leg, she was holding my hand in the ambulance.  I don’t know how scared I would have been if she hadn’t been there.”

I try not to look at Rebecca.  She’s wearing sunglasses but I think she might be starting to cry, so I keep focused on the grave.

“So today was the last game of the season and it was the only one I got to play in.  But it turned out exciting.”  And then I tell her about the game, keeping it short so that Dad and Uncle Kyle don’t start trying to hurry us up because there are other things I still need to say.

“Okay, Mom, there are a couple of other things I have that I wanted to say.  We’ve been studying poetry in class.  We had to write our own small little poem.  So I wrote this little poem.  I don’t know if it’s any good, but it’s about you, you and Aunt Sarah.  So I just wanted to say it to you.  So, here goes.

“Sleep now the angels, home from their flight.  I know that they guard us, all through the night.  Their wings are so tired, from all that they do.  But they keep us safe and warm, me and you.”

Now I know Rebecca is crying and this is the type of thing that Dad tells me I shouldn’t do, trying to manipulate things so that I don’t get in trouble.  But I feel like I have to ‘fess up to Rebecca and this seems like the best way to do it.

“Rebecca is a friend of ours, Mom,” I say and I won’t even look at Rebecca as I say this.  “She loves Dad a lot.  And she makes him so happy.  And I know she’d be good for him.  I know because I heard her saying it the other day when she was on the phone and didn’t realize I was in the room.”  When I say that, I hear Rebecca gasp and I feel bad because I should have just told her but I didn’t want her to get mad and I didn’t want to get in trouble.

“Mom, Dad reminds me of the guy in the Bible story, Job.  He keeps getting tested.  You died.  Aunt Sarah died.  I broke my leg.  I read his journal, I know all about the girl Jessica.  But maybe Dad’s done being tested now.  Maybe, like Job, he gets to be full of days.”

I stop for a minute and try to collect my thoughts.  Because there’s more I want to say.

“Mom, Aunt Sarah told me that I should look for someone born on May 12, 1996.  I looked in Dad’s journal.  That’s the day that your friend Sean died.  And I know that he was the boyfriend of your friend Rachel.  And that I was born the same morning that she died.  Which means that Aunt Sarah must think I am Rachel.  I don’t know if that’s crazy, Mom, because Aunt Sarah was, well, you know how she was because maybe she’s with you right now.  Acting crazy.  But if she’s right, then I am Rachel.  But if she’s right, that might mean that there’s someone out there who was born on October 17, 2003 and that person might be you.”

I stop because now I’m crying.  But there isn’t much to say, so I say it.

“I don’t think Dad needs that person, Mom.  She would be too young for Dad anyway.  And he’s got Rebecca.  But I might like to meet the person someday.  I like the idea that we can meet again someday.  And if not, well, there’s the U2 line.  I’ll see you again when the stars fall from the sky.”

I take a deep breath and finish.

“Either way, Mom, I know you’re with me.  I know we’ll see each other again.  And I hope you’re okay with Dad being happy.”

I put the flowers that Dad bought for me on the way here from the field on the grave.  I take two out and place them on Aunt Sarah’s grave and only then do I look at Rebecca.  I was right.  She is crying, which I can see even under her sunglasses.

“I’m sorry,” I say.  “I was under the table, picking up my baseball cards when you came in.”

“It’s okay.”

“I didn’t want you to be mad,” I say.

She puts her arm around me and pulls me close.  Then she gives me a noogie on my head.

“Next time just say that you’re there,” she says.


She nods her head towards Dad and Uncle Kyle, who are still standing under the tree and talking.

“Should we go get our boys?”

“And get some rude waitress service?”

“Come again?”

“You really don’t know what Ed Debevic’s is, do you?”

“Not a clue.”

“This will be fun,” I say and we walk back across the grass.  When we come to them, Rebecca is staring at Uncle Kyle.  Uncle Kyle, being who he is, looks at Dad.

“You’ve never told her about Sarah.”

“I guess not.”

“I never knew,” Rebecca says.

“Well, she’ll have time to hear about it,” I say.  “I told Mom about Rebecca, Dad.  I think she’d be okay if you were to get married.”

This makes Dad do a double-take and he starts to open his mouth, then closes it, then opens it again.

“Okay, Kayce, remember when we talked about Irving?  About how he doesn’t just get to choose if he marries you, how he needs to ask you, and you need to say yes?”

“Irving?” Rebecca says.  “Irving from Christmas?  Irving Barrett wants to marry you?”

“He’s too young for me,” I say.

“He’s a lot closer to you in age than I am to your dad.”

“Well, Kayce,” Dad says, lumbering on through his lecture, “I don’t just get to decide to marry Rebecca.  You don’t get to decide that either.”

“He would have to ask me first,” Rebecca says, but she’s smiling at both me and him as she says it.

“And she would have to say yes,” Dad adds on.

They are both being so daft.  Adults.  I turn to Uncle Kyle who is both the most adult person I know and also a kid at the same time when the response requires it.  He looks at me and smiles.  I turn to Rebecca and start pulling on her arm.  Uncle Kyle smacks Dad upside the head.  We both say the same thing at the same time.

“What are you waiting for?”



31 may 1994 – san jose

24 january 2017 – arlington