“But Mom, I love him.”
“I’m sure you do, Sasha. All I’m saying is...”
“You think it’s puppy love.”
“I don’t either.” Helen thought it was closer to ‘bitch in heat’ than to ‘puppy love,’ but saying so would be a sure way to lose her daughter. “Remember Steve?”
“That was puppy love.”
“I’m not so sure. The thing is, I was in love in high school.”
“No. We met in college.”
“But there were boys -- boys plural -- that I was in love with in high school. Give yourself a little time. Go to college. Meet an entirely different assortment of boys. If you still love John, fine. Dad and I don’t dislike John. We’re just worried about your locking yourself in. And, another thing.”
“Yeah. Seems this one is enough. You think I don’t love him.”
“I think you should wait. But, if you don’t, go to Dr. Metcalfe. You’ll have to pay your own bill, but I’ve already given her my permission. If you ask for a prescription for the Pill, she’ll give you one without telling us.”
“I’m saying that you should wait. If you meet the man you want to spend your life with in college, you’ll always be sorry you had sex before meeting him. On the other hand, there are worse things to be sorry about. And having a baby before meeting him is high on the list. Anyway, you’ve heard what I have to say.”
“Yes. And you’ve said way too much.”
Helen thought Sasha had heard way too little. She’d said it all, but how much had her daughter heard? But repeating herself wouldn’t get any more across.
She left Sasha’s room thinking it could always be worse. She could have asked, “But, Mommy, why are you certain that a woman is always sorry that her husband wasn’t her first?” But Sasha wasn’t thinking that, wasn’t thinking about anybody but Sasha and -- maybe -- John.
Thank God, when it was time for Bobby to have this conversation, it would be with Terry. And, thinking of Terry, it was time to go to bed and report. Terry was already in bed. She could tell he noticed that she didn’t lock the door, but he was pretending not to look. When she dropped her robe on the chair, he silently lifted the covers. She got in facing him, and he straightened his legs. He put the covers over her. They were facing each other from inches away.
“Make any headway?” he whispered.
“With a teen? If hormones don’t have mouths, how come she can hear them so much better than she can hear me?”
“She doesn’t hear them; she merely obeys them.”
“Yeah.” Well, Sasha would or, more likely, wouldn’t follow her mother’s advice. Helen hoped that she’d follow the advice about the Pill if she didn’t follow the advice about John. Well, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. She stared at Terry with another worry on her mind.
“Something wrong?” he asked.
“Are you ever sorry you weren’t my first?”
“After all this time? I’ll tell you, you are obsessing about the wrong question.” She wasn’t obsessing. The conversation had naturally brought the question to mind. “I’m damn glad you didn’t marry Al.”
“You mean it?”
“Of course. He was your first; I’m your regular. I may not wake up every day thinking ‘Helen could have married Al.’ I only think about him when you bring him up. But I do wake up happy that I married you.”