parents in law

Expect the Unexpected


“Oh my God,” I said aloud as I sat on the toilet with a positive pregnancy test in my hand.

            “Is everything alright in there?” asked Dan, my husband, in a more annoyed than worried tone.

            “Yeah,” I blurted out. I don’t know why I said that.

            Dan’s parents are coming into town this weekend. We’re supposed to break the news to them about the divorce (my own parents are dead). I know what you’re thinking – this just got on a whole new level of complicated. I know – trust me. I really do.

            I glanced nervously at the clock – it was 10:38. We had to pick up Dan’s parents from the airport at 12:00. Just great.

            I heard the door rattle and I quickly chucked the little stick into the trashcan. “I need to shower,” Dan said as he came in. I looked frantically from the trashcan to him, trying to figure out how to tell him.

            “Dan I –”

            “Whatever it is, we can talk about it later,” he cut me off.

            As I stepped out of the bathroom, I racked my brain for a way to tell him. What would he think? Isn’t telling his parents about the divorce enough already? I just didn’t see this ending well. I lay down on the bed and dwelled in my thoughts.

            The car ride to the airport was dead silent – the kind of silence you can almost hear: a tiny buzzing sound lingering in the air. I tried over and over again to tell Dan, but the words escaped my lips as soon as they got there. Fear and uncertainty rendered me unable to speak.

            After what seemed like forever, we got out of the car and made our way to my in-laws’ terminal.

            “Dan! June! How are my two favorite newly-weds?” Dan’s mom, Marie, said as she took me in for a warm embrace. Yes, you heard right. Newly-weds. We’re three months married. Left that small detail out.

            “Dan, my man!” exclaimed his father, Richard, as they almost violently patted each other in the back and hugged. “It’s great to see you again, June!” he approached me for a hug now, much gentler, of course.

            We engaged in small talk about work and our lives as we walked out of the airport. Every now and then, Marie would throw in a “Love-birds” when referring to Dan and me. They really had no clue.

            We got home and started prepping for lunch. “Dan and I are going to head out for a bit and get some things from the store,” Richard called out from the front door.

            “Sounds wonderful honey. Hurry back; these steaks will be done any minute!” Marie chirped in her sing-song voice.

            “Won’t be long, m’dear!” he replied in his charming southern accent. I really was going to miss them.

            We were setting the table as the sound of explosive laughter and the creaky door filled the house. They were back. “We brought some wine! I hear it’s your favorite, June,” Richard beamed. Oh no.

            Soon, we all gathered around the table, Richard filling everyone’s glasses quite generously. I gulped anxiously before he got to mine. I proceeded to stuff seasoned potatoes in my mouth.

            “Darling, you’ve barely touched your glass. Don’t play with me, I’m not ready to be a grandma yet,” laughed Marie. I choked on a thick piece of steak and started coughing violently. I looked down, unable to make eye contact with anybody.

            “June, you’re not –” I looked up at Dan, my eyes giving it all away.

            “What’s going on?” inquired Marie.

            “We’re getting a divorce.”

            “I’m pregnant,” I said at the same time he spoke. This can’t be good.

            “Divorce?” cried out Marie.

            “Pregnant?” said Richard and Dan at the same time. I felt that piece of steak in my throat. My predicament had really come full circle. 

            “I found out this morning,” I said, hoping to ease the tension. It didn’t. Marie and Richard looked heart-broken and disappointed. Dan looked like he was either about to punch a wall or cry. Maybe both.

            Nobody said anything else all through dinner. We ate in silence, nobody looking at each other. When we were done, I helped take the plates into the kitchen, and was surprised to see Dan follow me all the way to the sink, his countenance relaxed. “We’ll figure this out,” he said as he stroked my shoulder.

            I wished I could believe him. And for a second there, I really did.  

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