The sky was light in the east, and the world had just begun to stir. Calista sat at her kitchen table and thumbed through the LA Times. Where was Brian and why hadn’t he come home last night? He usually called if he wasn’t going to make it home.
The dog barked. Calista knew this meant he had just pulled up. It was 6:35 am. He must have been at his girlfriend’s house. Marlene had come over just two nights before and had sent Calista into a full-blown hot flash five minutes into their conversation. “Oh, look at that baby on the commercial,” she had said. (The baby was toddling happily over to pet a dog.) “I never want children. The very sight of them makes me a little nauseated.”
Calista poured tea in a cup and waited for her twenty-five year old son to walk in the door. She hoped he would announce that he had seen what a wretched creature Marlene was and had spent the night breaking up with her. Who didn’t love children? They were part of God’s plan. They were adorable. They were part of Calista’s view of her future. She wanted grandchildren at some point and this “girlfriend” of Brian’s was throwing a wrench into that dream. Besides, as a good Catholic, they were surely part of Brian’s plan. A houseful of children and an adoring wife. Who could ask from more?
The key turned in the lock and Brian walked in. Calista always smiled when she saw her son. Granted, he was not as tall as his father had been and he had a bit of a tummy, but he had a good heart and a sweet disposition. Another reason why that woman wasn’t right for him. She was just a little too strident on every issue. Who needed that many opinions, for the love of Mary?
“Hey, Mom,” Brian said and came over for a kiss on his cheek.
Calista smelled his cologne and smiled. He had showered and shaved already. Such a good groomer. Her son would never be one of those slovenly types with a three-day beard. “Hey, yourself,” she said, purposely keeping her voice cheerful. “How was your evening?”
Brian picked up his cup of tea and took a sip. “I broke up with Marlene. We had a fight just after I got there last night and I left.”
Calista’s stomach jumped at the news. Hurray! She knew her boy would see the light. But where had he been all night if that was the case? “Oh, my,” she said, trying not to sound too excited or too nosy. “Relationships can be tricky.”
Brian leaned back and gave her a grin. “That’s why I went over and talked to Brother Joseph. We were up half the night, and I’ve made a big decision, Mother.
“I’ve decided to move there next week. I know you’re happy for me!”
Sighing, Calista stirred a teaspoon of sugar into her hot tea and watched the particles dissolve in an instant. Her hope for grandchildren melted away just like that sugar. She looked up to see her son, eyes full of hope and excitement, waiting for her approval. She patted his hand. “I am thrilled for you, my darling. You are so spiritual and kind. You will be a fine monk, my dear. A fine one, indeed.”