Stella and I decided recently that we can't walk Arnold to school anymore, as we saw him getting taunted because of it by a large boy with a baseball cap. Even though Arnold didn't seem to mind, I didn't want to embarrass him. Since we weren't walking to school and waiting for Arnold, the days at the boarding house seemed to drag on. I was sitting at the kitchen table, reading the newspaper, when I saw an opening for an Anthropology Professor at Hillwood State College. My heart leapt, but then slowed down. I don't think I'm ready to work yet, I thought to myself, I wonder how Stella feels about working? Just as I was about to ask Stella, who was in the living room with Mom, the herd of strays and Abner came running down the hall towards the door. I could only tell who was on the other side of it.
Arnold opened up the door, and allowed the animals to run out of the house. "Hey Mom, hey Dad, hey Grandma and Grandpa!" He exclaimed.
"Hey son! How was school today?" I asked, while walking from the kitchen to the entryway.
"Great! Oh, that reminds me.." Arnold said, pulling his backpack from behind him. Unzipping his backpack and retrieving a folder, he pulled out a piece of paper. Blushing, he said, "You and mom have to sign this."
Stella walked over, kissed me on the cheek and placed a hand on my shoulders. "What's this?" I asked, although I wished I hadn't.
"Relax Miles," Stella said while rubbing my back. We were in our bedroom, my head between my legs, staring at the floor.
"How can I relax Stella? I'm not prepared to talk about this stuff with our son yet!" I said, while still looking at the same floor plank.
"Honey, what did you expect? This is what we signed up for as parents."
Sitting up, I said, "Yeah, but I thought I would have more time to prepare for this; like ten years' worth, not three months."
Sighing, Stella added, "I know. But Arnold is at that age, dear. He is going to find out these things, and although he will get knowledge of it through a video at school, it's better to hear about it from his father. I mean, think of when you were his age."
I winced at that sentence. A memory of my father talking to me about the birds and the bees was something I was not ready to mention. Ever again. I turned to look at my wife, God, she's beautiful, I thought to myself. "You're right. But, I just feel like it's more complicated now. I mean, he has a girlfriend too. Once we talk about this, what if he looks at her differently?"
Stella rolled her eyes, and said, "He's a boy, Miles. Of course he will look at her differently sooner or later, if he hasn't already."
Immediately, thoughts of Helga pregnant as a teen with Arnold being the father shot up through my head. I had to get this over with, I didn't want him to be irresponsible about this, or hear about it differently. For Christ's sake, I'm a Doctor. I can do this. I got up, and headed for his room. My heart was pounding out of my chest, how can I be this afraid to talk about this with my son? Oh right, because it's about puberty and sex. When I got to the top of the stairs where Arnold's door was located, I hesitantly knocked on the door.
"Come in!" Arnold said. I opened up the door, and he was laying on his couch, putting away his Walkman. "Hey Dad, what's up?"
I took a deep breath. "Son, it's time we have a talk."