The enormity of love I feel for Bebe is nearly impossible to put into words. I waited so long to make her mine and now she is and I am over the moon. Well, not yet…literally over the moon. Which is where the difficulties took hold between us.
Trouble began one night at a party at my superior officer’s home. Colonel Bunch did not often invite his men over to his home, but it was a very special occasion. SASA, the Sims Aeronautic and Space Agency, had selected Fort Gnome as the new launching pad for a space station. Only a select few pilots were in the running to fly to the new outerspace hub and I was one of them. Colonel Bunch spent the evening talking to each of us about the impending mission. Bebe listened without comment and I got a little nervous when the Colonel began to discuss the dangers of the endeavor. I suspected my wife would not want to hear about it, much less acquiesce to her husband adventuring beyond the ozone.
Sure enough, when we got home, Bebe had a lot of questions. She was proud of me for being an accomplished pilot but she did not know I had ambitions of becoming an astronaut.
“As a child, I spent a lot of time in my treehouse, imagining what it would be like to sail through the stars,” I began with enthusiasm, telling Bebe about the time I nearly fell out the window trying to follow the path of an overhead satellite.
“When I was fifteen, my parents brought me a proper telescope and astronomy became the only thing that kept my mind off of pranking. I longed for a career as an astronaut but it wasn’t until I went to the military academy that I realized my dream was a possibility within my reach. Now it is, Bebe. But I need your support.” She nodded but said nothing more on the subject that night. I could not help but sense her disapproval.
Flying in and of itself is not the issue. I know because I clearly remember the day I came home to tell Bebe I had been promoted to train on the supersonic jets at Fort Gnome.
Bebe was incredibly proud of me and kept telling me how sexy I looked in my gear. I had finally managed to procure a reservation at Immaculate Consumption and we had a wonderful dinner out and some amazing lovemaking when we got home.
I’m not really sure why the thought of me going into space was all that different from flying planes but I chose not to broach the subject with my wife again for some time. Meanwhile, life is wonderful. I have the most beautiful, desirous woman at my side that I could ask for and an pretty impressive career to boot.
I am surprised to wake up and find Bebe out of bed. I rise at 4:30 am and no one in the house is usually up. The bathroom door is closed and I can hear water running. Then I am startled to hear a terrible retching sound coming from behind the door, so loud and pitiful, I quickly jump up and run to Bebe’s rescue.
Inside I find my wife huddled on the tile floor, her head resting against the toilet seat. Her face is pale and before I can ask her what is wrong, she begins vomiting again. My heart is breaking for her and I stroke her braided head, then get a damp washcloth and carefully wipe her mouth.
“Are you going to live?” I say in a hushed voice as I help her rise to her feet.
“I must have food poisoning,” she whispers, leaning against me as I help her back to bed. I get a different washcloth, run cool water on it and place it on her forehead, then put one large bath towel next to her on the bed, and another on the floor. “Don’t worry about getting up. I’ll clean everything up if you get sick again,” I offer. She faintly nods, her eyes squeezed shut.
Eventually, her breathing slows down and she drifts off to sleep. I go ahead and take my morning run, trying to remember if Bebe ate something at dinner the night before that I didn’t. When I return, I wake my mother and ask her to keep an eye on my wife. I would like to stay home but everyday at Fort Gnome is a competitive one with each guy vying to be the top gun. Though I have not discussed space travel with Bebe any further, I have not withdrawn my name from the potential list of candidates to man the space station.
It is a good thing I did go to work that day because the shuttle that would fly to the space station was finally completed and delivered to our base. On this day, Colonel Bunch posts the final cuts for shuttle-flight training and my name is on the list of those lucky men who will move to the next stage. I am standing among this elite group, admiring the gleaming hulk of metal we would be learning to manipulate when my phone rings. I am pleased to see it was Bebe, she must be feeling better. But my heart sinks when she asks me to meet her at the hospital.
The sight of Bebe standing at the front doors of Sunset Valley General Health is a relief. I was expecting to find her ensconced in a bed, too weak to communicate but here she is, wearing unfamiliar, rather loose clothing and grinning like a Simshire cat. “What is it, sweetest?” I ask. “I guess you are going to live after all?”
Bebe chuckles and then grabs me into a tight embrace. “Yes, it seems I’ve only come down with a case of baby flu.”
I stand there completely confused for a moment and then it dawns on me what my wife is saying. I pull her close and kiss her on the forehead. “I though I’d already heard the best news I was going to get today. But you just topped that. I love you so much.”
“I love you, too. What other good news did you get today?”
I debate what to do and decide now is not the time to tell Bebe I am spacebound. “It can wait,” I assure her and walk her to her car.
Bebe and I revel in the joys of becoming new parents. She discovers some old pregnancy books that belonged to my great-grandmother and we read them voraciously. The volumes are a little old fashioned but we find lots of good tips that help ease our minds. Except nagging in the back of my mind is that I have something important to tell Bebe and something I sense she isn’t going to like.
One night after dinner, while Bebe is washing up the dishes, my mother comments on how large her belly is getting and they discuss the due date. I realize my news can no longer wait. When Bebe and I retire to our bedroom for the night, I begin the difficult explanation about space shuttle flight training.
Her reaction is worse than I anticipated. She is shocked at first…
But then the fury kicks in and I have to say, I never knew my beloved wife was capable of being so angry. Her language would put a sailor to shame. I know yelling and screaming cannot be good for her blood pressure, which is already being monitored closely by her obstetrician. But I think it is best to let her get her rant out. Then maybe I can reason with her.
“Shuttles have been launched into space dozens of times, Bebe. Flying a shuttle isn’t that different from flying a plane. It just goes a lot farther,” I say, which sounds lame and decidedly non-reassuring.
“I don’t want you that far away, Sebastian,” Bebe cries. “We have a new baby coming and I want you right here with me. But from what you told me, the first mission lift-off is right when the baby is due!”
“Can we compromise?” I ask, though it pains me to consider what I am about to propose. “Will you let me talk to Colonel Bunch? Maybe I can continue to train but just not be the first guy to go up. I can go on one of the later missions.”
“I just have a bad feeling about you traveling to space and I can’t shake it, ” Bebe whispers, her voice trembling with tears.
“But you know how important it is to me, sweetest,” I answer quietly. “Its my dream.”
“I thought I was your dream?” Bebe responds. I can’t argue with that.
“Okay. I’ll take my name off the list. For now.” I sigh and then pull her into an hug. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and this baby is going to make our life even better. I promise, I will be here for you. But maybe when the baby gets older, I can try again?”
She pulls back and wipes away the last of her tears. “Okay. Maybe.”
When the day finally arrives that I become a father, I realize that Bebe’s ‘maybe’ was more likely to become a ‘never.’ For we welcome not one beautiful baby boy into the world…
We welcome two! Ferdinand and Hewitt are our darling little twins. What isn’t so darling is what I discover in their cribs when we bring the twins home from the hospital. Two hideous-looking dolls have arrived in the mail exactly on this day and the return address is someone I don’t know but assume is a distant relative–Pater Notorious. The note attached with the dolls reads ‘To Help the Notorious Get Back To Their Roots.’ What does that mean, I wonder, examining the creepy creatures. What is even stranger is that when I remove the dolls from my sons’ cribs, the babies begin screaming. But when I return the dolls to the crib, my children fall silent. I am sure it is just a coincidence but to keep the peace, I keep the toys in the cribs.
I did not realize what a blessing it is to have grandparents living in the house until the little ones came along. Mom and Dad are home a lot and are unbelievably helpful to Bebe. Dad has come out of retirement as a talent agent to be a motivational speaker and he spends a lot of time rehearsing in front of the mirror while Mom polishes up his speeches on the computer. But both are willing to drop whatever they are working on at anytime to assist with their grandsons.
Two boys meant no end to diaper changes, feedings, and burpings but someone is always there to make sure the kids are alright. Mom told me in private she is especially surprised by Dad. “Sigismund worked all the time when Mariposa and Vereen were growing up,” she says, referring to my older siblings. “He was helpful with you but he is just head-over-heels in love with his grandsons.”
Those two little guys grew awful fast and before we know it, we have two toddlers in the house. Bebe couldn’t be happier. She tells me she used to miss bartending but since the boys have come into our lives, she hasn’t given it another thought. Her parents aren’t getting any younger and one day her namesake bar will fall into Bebe’s hands but it is hard for me to imagine that she will do anything but sell it. Motherhood seems to be her truest calling and I am pleased my beautiful wife has proven to be such a nurturing caregiver.
Aside from Ferdinand’s red hair, my sons most resemble Bebe. Especially in temperament. They are both as sweet and good as can be.
I know they didn’t get that sweet goodness from me. When I interact with my children, I get an old familar feeling that I simply can’t ignore, no matter how hard I try. Today, Ferdinand is the target.
He is so trusting as I take him out of the crib.
I set him on the floor and he looks up at me with those big brown eyes he inherited from his mother. Clasping my hands in anticipation, I flash Ferdinand a disarming smile.
Then swoop down and snatch his prized lollipop, proving the old adage true…it is just that easy. But why do I do it? Why can’t I control this impulse?
Naturally my baby does not like being pranked. He is too little to remember that I always give the lolly back so he screams and flails his chubby little arms and legs. I realize I better return the candy quickly because Bebe, Mom or Pop are going to come running any second.
But before I can return the treat, I hear a long, low growling and hissing. I whirl around in shock, expecting to see some wild animal behind me. But it is only Ferdinand’s creepy toy looking back at me.
Just as I realize the frightening noises are coming from the doll, I am overwhelmed by a flood of nausea. The candy slips from my grasp as I double over and cover my mouth to keep from getting sick. Ferdinand stops crying and picks up the lolly, his face tear-streaked but delighted. And the instant the candy is back in my son’s hands, the hissing and growling cease and my stomach returns to normal.
What I do next is hardly rational. But I know what I saw and felt. That doll made noises like a deranged tiger, I heard it. The sickness I felt? Well, maybe that was guilt from what I had just done to my son…but it was just a prank. No, I believed that doll made me sick. I walk over to the crib and snatch up the one that Ferdinand inexplicably named ‘Hesper.’
Then I find the one called ‘Pat’ that Hewitt is always singing to in his baby-voice. Frankly, the attachments my sons have to these dolls are bothersome. And who is this Pater Notorious, anyway? What ‘roots’ is it that my family is supposed to get back to? I don’t know and I don’t care, I don’t want the crazy things in my house one minute longer.
I make a quick, determined trip to the trash can. Goodbye, Hesper, Goodbye Pat.
Imagine my shock when I pass the nursery window on the way back to the house and their are my boys and with them…the dolls!