I tell my youngest, “Carry your phone like that, it will drop and smash and I don’t feel like buying you another.”
“Yeah you don’t need to explain,” he says. “I hear you.”
He saunters away, and I see the phone edging up out of his back pocket, thanks to how tight his jeans are, and his round butt. I wonder, how everything else on him is so skinny, who knew a teenage boy could have such a luscious butt?
Then I hear his phone hum. My hands are in warm dishwater and I close my eyes and listen. He swipes to text back but he doesn’t use a password.
I know because I picked up his phone once after it fell out of his laundry. Swiped right and his whole life was laid in front of me.
The first line I read then was from Bethany. I knew she was his girlfriend because he put these cutesy hearts around her name. And she called him Astro which is his childhood nickname, a play on his love of all things related to NASA. His given name is Trevor.
*Obviously this wasn’t planned.
These things never are.
It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list. Was it on yours?
Maybe Mount Everest, maybe the ISS.
What do you think we should do?
Wait. When did this happen?*
Trevor wasn’t stupid, I remember thinking. He wanted to be sure. As much as my heart sank from the certain knowledge that Bethany was pregnant, Trevor used whatever tenuous logic he possessed to protect himself.
You remember Dev’s party? The jello shots and we ended up in the bedroom. Then I missed my period.
The house is quiet with only Trevor living here with me. He sticks around which is kind of sweet, since my husband and I split, and his older brothers went to live with their dad. Trevor said at the time he wanted to be like Switzerland, and not get involved in any disputes. I know his nobility is a cover for just how defenceless he felt. I feared a girl like Bethany might roll right over him because of it.
I waited until I could read his phone again. A few days later, Trevor went to cut the grass and left his phone on the kitchen table, muttering something about the unkindness of mower blades.
*You know it’s not a big deal. I read about it. It’s just a zygote.
Do it soon then?
Probably better that way.
I love you, Astro.*
I take my hands out of the dishwater and dry them. Those astonishing lines replay in my memory. Not a big deal. I underestimated him. This careless boy who dropped his unprotected phone everywhere made a bloodless decision and I missed the signs, didn’t see the change.
Trevor comes back into the kitchen and picks up a towel to dry dishes.
“I love you, Astro.”