“Mom,” Emerson said, “You look really nice today…”
“Oh! Do I? You must want something…something big…reeeeeally badly.”
“What? A kid can’t tell his mother that she looks nice without wanting something in return,” he asked feigning shock. Viviana returned a doubtful glance.
“I love you, Emerson. And you’re a great son, but that’s the oldest trick in the book. Why don’t you just try asking me?”
“How much do you need, and what is it for?”
Emerson was surprised that she knew. “Ummm…well…I don’t know yet.”
Viviana smiled and shook her head. “What do you want, son?”
Her eyes narrowed and she said, “You’re 17. What do you need with a house?”
“I won’t be 17 for long, mom! My birthday is just around the corner, and I want to get a house with one of my friends.”
She looked away as she thought about it, and he watched her. She sighed as she thought about her children. Her oldest babies were married with their own babies who weren’t babies any more, and now her youngest baby was becoming a man in a few days. Everyone her age had died already, and she felt blessed to still be around to witness her offspring’s lives blossom.
“What friend,” she asked.
Emerson silently panicked and said, “…Alex.”
His whole life he only had one friend named Alex, and she was confused. “Alex? Alex Piper? Your little girlfriend from kindergarten?”
“Y-yes…” His palms began to sweat.
“Emerson…don’t you think that’s being a bit hasty? You’re not even together.”
“We’re gonna be roommates,” he said innocently.
“Oh, honey…you can’t just be roommates when you like each other. Things will change, and…I’m not quite sure you’re ready for all this.” It wasn’t that he was so young. She was concerned that he was not mature enough yet.
“But, mom! You let Jeannette live with Julian!”
“That was different!”
“They loved each other and were in a committed relationship! And we knew her very well. I barely know Alex, I don’t know what type of person she is, and you two aren’t even together! I’m not comfortable with this, Emerson.”
“I don’t see what the big deal is,” Emerson huffed.
“I know, baby. Look…when you live with someone whom you have feelings for, it’s more than just sharing living space. You begin to build a life together. Memories…identity…aspirations…and, honestly, there is nothing wrong with that and I want that for you some day! But, what happens if it doesn’t work out? You have to tear down all of that, and it hurts. It hurts even when you don’t live together! Oh! And you know what else you share when you live with someone?”
“But we’ll have our own money.”
“It doesn’t work that way, Emerson. When you live with someone, all the money goes into the same account. Do you trust her enough to have access to your money?”
“Ok, Emerson. I know you want to move out, and I want you to do whatever is going to be right for you. So, I’ll give you the money to get yourself a house. When you get there, I know you’re going to do whatever you want to do, and I can’t stop you. So, I’ll say this once more: You don’t love Alex, and I would not recommend going this route with her.”