The second in my ongoing series about Erin and I slowly marching towards parenthood. This one, I promise, will be way less serious than the first one. I wrote this as soon as we got home from dinner on the night it happened, wanting to record this gem of a conversation while it was still fresh in my mind.
When Erin was nine weeks pregnant, we stopped for dinner at Atomic Burger. Yeah, I know, but you need to understand — this place makes milkshakes. Delicious, epic milkshakes frozen with liquid nitrogen. It’s food and science. And most germane to this story, in the run-up to Mardi Gras, they were offering a King Cake Milkshake in what turned out to be a collectible, color-changing cup.
“Are we going to have to get rid of some of our cups after Mardi Gras?” Erin asked. I should explain here for those of you who weren’t fortunate enough to be born in Louisiana — even though we got a set of glassware as a wedding gift, most of our everyday beverages are consumed from what my mother used to call our “fine China”: free cups tossed from Mardi Gras floats, collector’s cups from restaurants and gas stations, and a cup handed out by then-Lieutenant Governor candidate Billy Nungesser at a jambalaya cook-off. You know. Fancy stuff. And after Mardi Gras is over, we usually get a new influx of drinking glasses.
“I don’t know,” I said. “There’s nothing wrong with any of our cups.”
“I guess I could get rid of the one I peed in,” she said.
“Sure,” I said, followed about five seconds later by, “Wait, what?”
“The cup I peed in when I took the first pregnancy test,” she said.
“Wait, you peed in one of our cups?”
“One of the ones I drink out of?”
“Yeah, I told you about that.”
“No you didn’t!”
“Was it the same night you told me you were pregnant?”
“Well do you think I was paying attention to that part?”
As this began to sink in, I started to mentally inventory our drinkware. Which one was it? Was it one I used often? Was it one I used today?
“The directions said you could just pee right on the test itself, but I was afraid I’d mess it up,” she said.
“How do you mess up peeing on something?” I asked.
“You’re wondering which cup it is, aren’t you?”
“Do you want me to tell you?”
“I don’t know! I can’t tell if it’s worse knowing or not knowing at this point!’
“Well it’s clean. It’s been cleaned. I put it right in the dishwasher and I left it in there for another cycle, so it’s been washed at least three times.”
“Three?” I may be an English teacher, but I’m capable of at least this much math. “That’s only two.”
“Well… I washed it again.”
“After I saw it in the sink.”
I felt my individual skin cells begin arguing over which direction they should crawl in. “In the sink?” I said “How do you think it got there?”
She sighed. “We got it for free.”
“All of our cups are free!” I said, trying to not alert the rest of the Atomic Burger patrons to my sudden distress. “We got them all from Mardi Gras parades and Billy Nungesser!”
As I said the name of our elected official, Erin suddenly turned red.
“Wait, was that it? Is it Billy?”
She said nothing.
“Is it Billy Nungesser?”
Her face turned purple.”
“Is it Billy Nungesser?”
Her silence was finally broken as she doubled over in peals of laughter. As she sat there, giggling, potentially choking on her hamburger, I thought of the cup and tried to remember the last time I’d used it: water? Juice? Tea? What else had been in that beverage receptacle?
“Is it the Billy Nungesser cup?” I asked one last time.
She finally managed to collect herself and stop laughing, then wiped tears away from her cheeks with a napkin.
“He knew before you did,” she said.
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