Cement Heart(6)

By: Beth Ehemann


“If by sensitive you mean he has a vagina,” I joked before turning my attention to Brody and Kacie. “Really though, I am happy for you guys. Is this one gonna have a penis, unlike Mike?”

“We don’t know.” Kacie laughed as Mike reached over and punched my arm. “Still too early. And because it’s so early, we’re asking you guys to keep this to yourselves. You all know how it can be when the media catches wind of something personal in our lives, and I’m not ready for that yet. Not until I’m further along.”

“Oh, honey. That goes without saying,” Michelle agreed, shaking her head. “Damn vultures.”

“Man, look at this. You guys are all on your second, third, tenth kids, and here I am living by myself, with no one to come home to at night, no family to love, no one to talk to…” I said as seriously as I could. They all stared wide-eyed at me, not sure how to respond. “Suckers!” I bellowed, laughing as I ducked the hail of peanuts.





“MORNING, SUNSHINE.”

My head throbbed as I cracked one eye open the very next morning. Darla was sitting on the edge of my bed, smiling at me as she tied her shoes.

Blinking away the sleep, I leaned up on one elbow. “Where you going?”

“You’re off work for the summer, but the rest of us aren’t,” she teased as she disappeared into my walk-in closet. “What are your plans for the rest of the day anyway?”

I sat all the way up and stretched my arms out. “I think I’m gonna go visit my grandma.”

“Oh yeah?” She reappeared from my closet wearing a Minnesota Wild sweatshirt.

“Hey, that’s my favorite one,” I whined playfully.

“I know.” She smiled at me. “So… your grandma, huh? Do you visit her often?”

“Not as much as I should.” I sighed, feeling guilty. “It’s hard to get over there during the season, so I spend as much time with her as I can during the off-season. We’re kindred spirits, actually.”

She stopped moving and stared at me for a second, processing what I’d just said. “Kindred spirits? You and your grandmother?”

“Yep.” I laughed. “Believe it or not. Gam’s not a typical grandma. She looks like it on the outside, but on the inside she’s wild and crazy.”

“Hmmm.” She tilted her head to the side. “I’d like to meet her sometime.”

I nodded. “I’m sure you will.”

“All right, I gotta go.” Grabbing her purse off my dresser, she walked over and bent down to kiss me good-bye.

“What about my hoodie?” I mumbled through the kiss.

Darla pulled away and narrowed her eyes at me. “I’ll bring it back, you big baby.”

I yawned and lay back down on the bed. “You coming back tonight?”

“Maybe.” She blew me a kiss and turned down the hall.

“What do you mean maybe?” I called after her.

“Gotta see what other offers present themselves,” she yelled back from my kitchen.

I couldn’t help but smile as I heard the clink of the cookie jar on the counter.

She knows me so damn well.



Gam’s little ranch house was modest but really well taken care of, considering her stubborn eighty-nine-year-old ass wouldn’t let me hire a landscaper. Not a flower out of place or a bush overgrown. It was her pride and joy, other than me of course.

The hum of my motorcycle brought Gam out to her front porch.

She tipped her watering can toward some weird pink puffballs in a pot as I took my helmet off and secured it to the back of my bike.

“You’re so goddamn loud. The whole neighborhood knows when my grandson comes over.” She smiled, shaking her head. I walked up the white wooden steps to her porch and she offered me her cheek.

“Gimmie a break.” I kissed her. “These old bats living in your community can’t hear shit.”

“You win.” She nodded. “Here, come sit.”

We walked over to the two white wicker chairs on her porch, and I collapsed into one, still tired and a bit hungover from the night before.

She stared down at me, studying my face. “You look like hell.”

“Thanks. I feel like hell.”