I stand awkwardly in the living room, bare feet shuffling idly across the plush carpet, eyes darting between the pictures on the mantle to the art on the walls.
Anywhere but on my parents.
He sits in an old lay-z-boy, the cuisions molded to his frame. I know he stares at me, waiting, though I refrain from making eye contact myself.
She stands slightly beside yet behind him, hands on his tense shoulders. She knows that something is up. She always does.
She is my mother. And I did bring a tag-along, after all.
My "tag-along" is actually my lover, a secret romance that blossomed only last summer. It was a good summer, but that's a momentary distraction I cannot afford.
For the moment, my cohort is engaged not with me, but with a stare-off versus a piece of needle-work on the wall behind my parents. Neither show signs of giving in.
I still switch between two views, the parents still have their eyes locked on me. I can feel the seconds tick by, though they feel like minutes. Hours, even.
It was bound to happen at some point, right? Either they would find out from someone else, or from me.
I choose to break the silence, as my lover's opponent shows no intention to blink.
My voice falters. My head spins.
I can't do this.
But as a hand slips reassuringly into mine, I know that I can.
I start again, the same as before.
I'm looking at them now, and they are looking back at me. Mom's eyes full of worry and concern, my father looking careless, as usual.
A quick gasp. A palm-slap to the forehead. My girlfriend's hand tight in my own. My eyes snap shut.
Is it over yet?