Mary’s relationship is going swimmingly; and there are milestones to prove it.
“I don’t know,” she says. “Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve been super-impressed with Jon lately.”
I am listening and working at the same time. “Go on,” I whisper into my headset.
“Well,” she says, “I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I think he might be paying attention to what I’m saying.”
There is a pause as the importance of this sinks in.
Jon has many wonderful qualities. He’s smart. He’s funny. He's easy on the eyes. He can take apart, fix, build, and operate any machine or engine presented to him.
He cannot, however, wash dishes, make a sandwich, or recall if they’ve RSVPed to a bike rally or a christening.
“You mean to say,” I hazard, “that he appears to be listening?”
“No, no,” she says. I can almost hear her shaking her head in wonderment. “I mean I said something the other day and not only were his eyes on me when I said it, he asked a follow-up question.”
There is silence.
“Did you check his pupils?”
“He seemed to be conscious and aware of his surroundings.”
I stop. “We need to mark this occasion. It’s the first time you’ve seen this behavior, right?”
We may be on the phone, but I know Mary is nodding. “It’s like when the baby rolls from his stomach to his back for the first time,” she says.
“That’s what I’m thinking!”
Mary laughs. “I’m gonna get a lock of his hair, paste it into a book.”
“They’re precious at this stage, aren’t they?”
She laughs again. “Do you think it would be tacky for me to save his teeth? He had one pulled about a month ago – I wonder if the dentist still has it?”
I shake my head. “I don’t think the dentist is holding on to Jon’s bad teeth.”
“Ya never know,” she offers.
I shake my head again but decide to play along, see how far it will go. “Sure,” I grin. “What the hell. Give the dentist a call.”
“Psssss.” She’s dismissing me now. “We’re talking milestones here! Next thing you know he’ll know where his shoes are.”
“Or where you keep the bread,” I offer.
“He'll express an interest in folding laundry!”
There is silence.
“I’ve gone too far, haven’t I?” she says.
“Baby steps,” I say.