Austin is attempting to tell me the ending to Oblivion, but I can't understand him because he's whispering.
"Wait," I whisper back. "I don't think I heard you right. That sounds exactly like the plot of Moon. Say it again. What's going on with Tom Cruise, now?" "YOU'VE SEEN MOON?!" yelps Austin. Mrs. Jana and Jill stop their conversation and shush us. I mouth "sorry," even though I wasn't the one who raised my voice, and me and Austin continue our conversation about the nuances in Sam Rockwell's performance with exaggerated facial expressions and elementary sign language.
In the master bedroom, Austin and Jill's baby, Emma, has just fallen asleep. Here in the living room, we're enjoying quiet discussions peppered with reminders that "the baby is sleeping." Mrs. Jana, Jill, and Granny sit in high-backed chairs across the room while me, Austin, and John lounge on the couch. John's dad is in the kitchen listening to Anita Baker and scraping Granny's birthday cake off of plates and silverware. So far, this has been the type of Sunday most families picture themselves enjoying but never seem to get all the pieces together: late sleeping, coffee on the back porch, phantom hangovers, mimosas at brunch, outdoor shopping, sunshine, an intimate birthday party, easy conversation, and the sweet victory of winning the Didn't Do Shit Olympics. It's fucking sublime.
Jill put Emma down nearly ten minutes ago, but I'm still anxious that she'll wake up and start fussing. I'm not very familiar with the sleeping habits of two-year-old people. Come to think of it, I'm not familiar with babies at all! We don't have any in my family. Not that I know of, anyway. Being the oldest of three, male, 24, and a Southerner, I feel like I should have fathered something by now. But as my exboyfriend, Wit's End, used to say, "Butt babies don't live."
I think about Emma on the other side of the wall, stirring while her mom, dad, uncle, grandparents, and some fruity gentleman her uncle dragged over talk about their co-workers and the plots of awful Tom Cruise sci-fi movies, and then it suddenly dawns on me. We are the adults in the other room. I AM ONE OF THE ADULTS IN THE OTHER ROOM.
This can't be true, right? I know I'm in my mid-twenties, but how did this happen? I still watch cartoons for Christ's sake! Seriously, I regularly watch Adventure Time, Bob's Burgers, and Gravity Falls and I'm sure I have episodes in my DVR right now that I'll watch when I'm finished with this. I also watch ThePuppyChannel.com, [but in my defense, I learned about it from Ira Glass]. I wear TOMS to the office and child size briefs from Target. I want a tattoo that says "Don't go. I'll eat you up I love you so," because I love Where The Wild Things Are and another one that says "Adventure is out there," to honor Up. Sometimes, I shotgun buffalo sauce. And at this very moment, I'm wearing a neon yellow zipper bracelet that I bought at a gas station.
I've slept with cruise ship dancers and hairdressers and delivery boys and bag boys and go-go dancers and cheerleaders and art students and general studies majors and lifeguards and DJs and waiters and aspiring singers and aspiring gymnasts and aspiring actors and aspiring anythings. Clearly, ambition is not a quality I require in a sexual partner. Actually, one time I had a one night stand with a guy who later claimed to have been released from prison the day before. I burn things after I get dumped. I think gumbo tacos sound delicious. The last time I searched for free porn on Google, I just typed in "two guys doing it."
Whenever I visit a bar bathroom and I'm shitfaced, I set my beer on the urinal and I talk to it. I'll usually say something like, "Hey, buddy. I'm holding my wiener right now, but it's not for long, so try not to get all room temperature, okay?" or "If you can hang on this incline for like ten more seconds without sliding, we'll be cool."
Even though I used to write the housing market report for my parish, I still have no idea how a mortgage works. I don't know who the Secretary of Defense is and I just learned today that John Kerry is the Secretary of State. And I'm the guy who wore a Kerry/Edwards button on his backpack when he was 15 years old. One time, I asked a transgender woman if she "wanted some fries to go with that dick." One time, I told a guy who I was dating "I can barely function as a human, let alone a top."
I genuinely care that Chloe Grace Moretz and the Fanning sisters succeed.
And my hidden talent is chugging beer without swallowing my gum.
But on the other hand, I do listen to NPR and podcasts of Selected Shorts. And I've only had to ask my parents for money once in my life. Speaking of my parents, I did move out of their house when I seventeen and I've been supporting myself ever since. I came to Lafayette without virtually any friends, but now I can't get a haircut without seeing someone I know. I've worked my way up from intern to part-time copywriter, to full-time copywriter, to Senior Copywriter, and now I work as an Associate Creative Director. I have bills and a 401(k) and my resume is loaded with advertising awards. I honor my own word. And I keep my promises.
I look around the room at everyone, and I take in this moment of adulthood. It feels comfortable. I smile at John just because, and I can tell he's anxious to head back home. "You ready?" he asks. I look down at the neon yellow zipper bracelet and I say, "Yeah. I'm ready."