“Lily,” Auntie Mindy said, when she’d put a couple of things on her plate, “what is your favorite subject in school this year?”
“What, am I ten?”
My mom choked on her wine, and then quickly reached for her glass of water.
“I don’t think you’re ever too old to have favorites, no matter what you’re doing in life,” Auntie Melinda replied.
“And also, I know you pretty well. It’s very like you to have a favorite, especially in school.”
I sighed. I wanted to stick my tongue out at her, but that would have just proven that I was ten years old. “Fine. It’s AP Trigonometry.”
My aunt nodded knowingly. “I figured. You take after your Grandma.”
Their mother had been a mechanical engineer in her younger years. Math had always been her favorite subject too.
“I… doubt that I’ll be a mechanical engineer though.”
“Why is that?”
“It just seems… kind of boring… to me.”
Now my mom and aunt both laughed.
“What do you think you will go to school for?” Auntie Melinda asked.
“Well…” I looked sideways at my mom. I’d been side-stepping this question for months.
The truth was, I had a hard time seeing myself becoming an adult and doing adult things. Last year, when Declan had been constantly talking about ACT scores and college applications, I hadn’t had a hard time picturing the college life. We’d go together, apply to the all the same colleges and pick the best one that accepted both of us. We’d have different majors, because we’d be pursuing different career paths; our classes would therefore be different, and wouldn’t allow us to be joined at the hip as we’d been all through high school. But we’d still be as close as ever, walking together between classes, having meals together, studying together in the library on weeknights, and hanging out in each other’s dorm rooms to watch movies or play video games on weekends.
But that life and all of its potential was no longer an option. Declan had taken with him my desire to go to college and do college things, including pursuing a career of any sort.
Still, that didn’t mean I hadn’t thought about it. I just didn’t want to talk about it.
“I think I want to major in accounting,” I finally said.
Auntie Melinda nodded satisfactorily.
“Really?!” My mom’s voice held a mixture of surprise and excitement. No doubt it was more related to the fact that I was finally making a decision than to the fact that the decision was accounting.
I nodded in affirmation.
“But I mean, really? Is that really what you’re considering?”
“Yes, really, Mom. Did you think I was joking?”
“It’s such a great career to get into for someone as smart and math- minded as you,” Auntie Melinda chimed in.
I turned my head to give them a sideways look, eyes slanting with suspicion. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing. Nothing’s going. Why would you think anything was going on?” My aunt was really good at that sitcom thing where someone appears extremely eager to convince someone else that they are not guilty, by way of acting as guilty as sin. My mom, for her part, looked like she was trying to keep herself from just blurting something out.
I just shook my head. “You two are unbelievable.”