Janie: “I can’t believe we’re married!”
Candy: “I know! It’s like a dream.”
B: “Mom. Mommy. It’s literally been months. Get over it.”
You grew up far too fast, B. Grew into your smart mouth even faster.
The reality of living with Candy, of sleeping next to her, of loving her, was beyond my wildest expectations. It was, as she said, like a dream. Somedays, I would wake up and look over in the bed next to me, see her there, and have to touch her face, rub my leg against hers, to convince myself that she was really there.
The reality of living with a child, however… Slightly less than dreamy.
Don’t get me wrong. You were a good kid, B. And smart as hell. But instead of channeling that intelligence into school work… Let me just say, you were a handful.
Janie: “B! Get off that computer and do your homework!”
B: “I already did it!”
Janie: “Don’t lie to me, young lady!”
A rambunctious scamp to the core, you were rough and rowdy and playful, full of ice cream and laughter.
Janie: “Salad for dinner!”
B: “Ugh, again? Why??”
Janie: “Don’t whine. It’s good for you.”
I’ll be honest with you now, B. The salad I stuffed you full of in those days—less about health (though I did want you to grow up healthily—my mother never enforced a healthy diet, and I saw the effects of it when I became a… larger size teenager) and more about cost. Suddenly, it seemed, my inheritance was dwindling.
I didn’t know when it had happened. It probably had something to do with the quick addition of two extra people to the household, neither bringing in any of their own money and still needing to be fed, and to use electricity. Every time the bills came through, the budget grew tighter and tighter.
At one point, I would have rebelled against the idea of getting a job. That was a time when I was concerned with being cool, interested in having mere acquaintances see me as someone to be admired. But now, I had more important people that I wanted to impress. And their standards were more realistic than the strangers I met in nightclubs.
Candy: “Love… I have to ask. Our finances are in the toilet, aren’t they?”
Janie: “Don’t worry, babe. I have a plan.”
To be honest, I still wasn’t thrilled with the concept of going to work every day, being beholden to some rando who would tell me whether my work was satisfactory to his standards. I would have to be very careful about where I chose to work; and, once I had a job, I would have to work on my anger management skills (I think it would be less than impressive if I slapped my future boss across the face for criticizing me).
But all I had to do to convince myself was peer into your bedroom.
And I knew that you, my little Janie B, were worth it.
Janie: “So, I’m going to go job hunting today.”
Candy: “You are! Janie, I’m so proud of you!”
Candy: “Where are you thinking of working?”
Another good question. Just as important as a reasonable boss that I wouldn’t want to slap was finding a job that I actually enjoyed. I was old enough that I deserved to find a job that was at least somewhat in line with my interests. I’d already tried a job that was in line with my love of sociality—the retail store. And we saw how well that worked out—I talked to people all day long, sure. But most of what I did was give discounts to my friends and close after making two sales.
What else could I do?
Candy: “Why don’t you come work with me!”
Candy was C-Lister at the Blue Velvet nightclub. She worked most nights, until quite late, playing sets in between the main event performers to keep people entertained. She wanted to eventually be one of their star violinists, but she was a long way from that (I don’t know if you recall me saying this, B, but she wasn’t the best violinist, necessarily… Oh, you remember? Right).
B: “Oh yeah, that’s great Mommy.”
B: “But maybe keep practicing, yeah?”
B: “Mommy is not good at playing the violin, Samuel.”
I hesitated, put out applications at few other places. I wasn’t cocky, per se, but I knew that I played the violin better than Candy. I didn’t want to stand in her way.
But when my applications for entertainer positions elsewhere all came back in the negative (apparently, there were lots of other, younger (rude!) entertainers who were performing all over Willow Creek and Oasis Springs), I had no other choice.
I checked with Candy.
Janie: “You’re sure it’s alright if I apply for this job at Blue Velvet?”
I double checked. I triple checked.
Finally, I had no choice but to submit an application. I could have applied elsewhere, but that would have made Candy suspicious—we had a completely open and honest relationship in most ways, but there was no way that I could tell her that I thought I was a better violin player than her. It just was not going to happen. And how else would I be able to justify not taking a job in a field that I enjoyed?
The Blue Velvet application was returned with a phone call. “Janie Newman, we’d love to hire you as an Amateur Entertainer!”
It was only twenty-something simoloens an hour—no more than 180 simoleons or so a day! But it was something. Between Candy’s and my income, we hopefully wouldn’t be so strapped for cash. It helped that we redecorated the house a little—no downsizing, but downgrading the furniture and the flooring put a little bit of cash back in our pocket.
The day I received the affirmative call from the Blue Velvet, Candy was ecstatic.
B: “Ewww! Mom, Mommy, stahhhhp!”
Janie: “I got a job today, B!”
B: “High five! You’ve done the same thing that every other adult in the universe has done. Congrats!”
I just started making out with my wife again. That was punishment enough for you, B.
Candy: “I really am so proud of you.”
Janie: “All for you, love. I never want you to have to worry about where we stand, money-wise. Getting a job to ensure that is the least that I can do.”
Candy was clearly pleased.
The rest of my party people were less so.
Paige: “You’re getting a job? First a kid and a wife, and now this? You’ll never come out anymore!”
Darren: “Yeah, come on Janie, I thought we left this job pipe dream back in your 20s.”
Janie: “I’m here tonight, right? I’ll still be around-just maybe not as often.”
Paige: “Are you really here? You’ve seen that business suit you’re wearing, right?”
I wanted to not care what they thought. Candy and you, B, were the most important people to me, now. But that didn’t change the fact that I was happiest in a group—I was always my most vibrant self when surrounded by three or more people. I was just an insider that way. The group dynamic made me thrive.
But maybe that was just something I was going to have to sacrifice? You and Candy were worth it, after all. A little sacrifice never hurt anyone.
Sophie: “I have the best idea! We should start a club! Or, you should start a club, and we’ll all “join.” That way, you’ll have to come out on a regular basis! We can party all night long, and call it a club gathering. The wife and the boss can’t complain about that, right?”
Huh. A club?
A club. Maybe I wouldn’t have to make a sacrifice after all…