Ashlynn was lying upside down on her couch with her head hovering over the floor. Her parents had the same furniture that they had when she was a kid. The couch matched the love seat, both were tan with black, plaid-like lines. They had a dark brown recliner facing the television. The entertainment stand was small, and next to that was a collection of DVD’s and VHS tapes. On the other side of the entertainment center was a cat tree where a gray cat slept. Ashlynn had the Golden Girls on the TV, but she appeared too lost in thought to be paying attention to it. Jon walked in and cocked his head, trying to figure out what his daughter was doing. “Are the Golden Girls more funny upside down?”
Ashlynn glanced over to her father’s direction but did not move out of that position. “I just blew my brains out trying to think of what to do about Tadd.”
Patty, who had overheard this, entered the room and stood with her husband. “Who’s Tadd? A new boyfriend?”
Ashlynn got completely taken aback by that question. She lost her balance and fell to the floor. She crashed into the coffee table that was in front of her, which woke up the cat. The cat howled and ran across the living room, running over Ashlynn’s body. Ashlynn picked herself up and sat on the couch. “Really?”
“Well, is he?” Patty inquired.
Ashlynn replied, “Tadd is my friend from high school. You don’t remember him at all?”
Jon remembered, “Oh yeah, he sounds familiar now. Too bad. We were really hoping you found a potential husband.”
Ashlynn raised her eyebrows. “You jumped from boyfriend to fiancee pretty fast!”
Jon and Patty sat on the love seat, but Patty spoke, “We need to talk about a few things now that you’re getting older. First of all, if you don’t use your baby factory soon, it’ll shut down forever!”
Ashlynn could not believe that they were having this conversation. She could not even fathom that notion at the moment. “What?”
Jon backed Patty up, “It gets harder to conceive a child when you’re in your thirties, and the pregnancies can be complicated. You’re our only daughter, and we want grandkids…”
Ashlynn did not entertain the idea. There was no way she was going to think of having kids at a time like this. “Too bad, you’ll have to wait. You want me to have kids? Really? I don’t even have my own place! Let’s focus on one thing at a time!”
“I don’t think it’s normal for a girl your age to not want a family,” Patty stated.
Ashlynn felt indignant. She always took things one day at a time and did not want to rush into a major life decision. She wanted a career, and if she got married right now, she would be a housewife. A traditional role of being a being a little wife and raising kids in a small house with a white picket fence did not entice her. She wanted to be married with kids one day, but it would not be conventional. She wanted an adventurous sort of life and did not want to pursue that right now. She simply told them, “I’m fine being single.”
Jon said, “Sweetie, we just want you to be happy. You don’t seem very happy.”
“Of course I’m not happy! I just hit my head!” Ashlynn pouted.
Jon pat her knee. “Look, you’re our baby. Yes, we still think of you that way. Even Sophia looks at Dorothy that way, and obviously everyone on the show is considerably older than us. When we see our child suffering, our hearts bleed. It’s painful to see our baby unhappy.”
Patty added, “You’re past the stage in your life where you dick around while trying new things and investing your time in stupid stuff. It’s time to think about what would make you happy and have a balanced life.”
Ashlynn thought about this for a moment. “Well, I supposed a good job would make me happy. Then I could get my own place and my own life.”
Patty debated this, “Yes, that’s a part of being well rounded. But family is important too, and how fulfilling would your life be by yourself?”
Jon agreed, “There’s no reason why you couldn’t build your career and find a boyfriend. A man could be a great support system for that, like Naveen was for Tiana in The Princess and the Frog.”
“You watch Disney movies by yourself?” Ashlynn kidded, “Practicing for those grandkids you don’t have?”
“Cartoons relax me.” Jon pouted.
Patty steered the conversation back to the original subject, “You don’t wanna focus on just your job, especially a job you don’t care about. I made that mistake before. I sold my soul to earn a lot of money. When I met your father, I realized that money wasn’t the most important thing.”
An idea struck Jon, “Have you thought about buying some space in the personal ads?”
Ashlynn almost had to translate that in her head. “Buy space in the personal ads? I don’t think I’ve heard that expression in over a decade. Most people just use dating sites and apps now.”
Jon grimaced. “Thanks for making me feel old, sweetheart.”
Ashlynn felt a little bad. “Sorry, Dad. I know how that feels. How do you deal with that feeling?”
Jon answered, “I go visit Pop in the nursing home. All his friends call me young man!” Ashlynn laughed.
Patty remarked, “I love that idea!”
“What? Visiting Pop?” Jon phased.
Patty shook her head. “No. A personal ad, or whatever kids use nowadays. Ashlynn could have some luck with that. I mean, it worked out for us, right?”
Things started to not add up for Ashlynn. She seemed to have come across something, and it didn’t make sense to her. “Wait, wait, wait! Earlier, you talked about selling your soul for a high paying career, but you told me when you met you were a waitress. You guys told me that Dad was in college studying for his finals for his engineering classes. He got hungry and couldn’t concentrate on an empty stomach. So, he brought his study material to the diner. You took his order, and, instead of a tip, he left his phone number. Where’s the personal ad?” Something dawned on her. “You lied Why would you lie? Could the way you met really be so bad that you kept a secret?”
Patty and Jon looked at each other, and Jon spoke, “Honey, I think it’s time we told her the truth.”
Patty consented, “You’re right.” She went under the entertainment stand and brought out and an old scrapbook. “I’m not ashamed of my past, but we made up that story because we didn’t wanna get judged.” She opened up the book to a certain page and laid it on her lap. “See that ad in the corner?”
Ashlynn looked at the page from an old Penny Saver. The page had a bunch of call girls that were all pretty but wore trashy styles of the early 1980’s. Patty pointed to a woman with huge, curly hair and black lace lingerie. Ashlynn laughed, “That hooker looks like you, Mom!” Patty and Jon had a somewhat guilty face. “Oh…my…god! You were a…? Ugh!”
Patty confessed, “I was never a waitress. I had a waitress costume though!”
Ashlynn decided to ignore that because she did not want that image in her head. She read outloud, “Hi! My name is Fantasy because you can live out all your dreams with with me. Big dicks only, please!” She glanced back up. “Wow! Mom, you were definitely a…So, it’s 1983, Mom is…Fantasy. Dad was, what, lonely? I don’t need to know why you were looking for a…” She cleared her throat. He seemed as thought hat he was about to explain, and Ashlynn interjected, “Don’t tell me! God, I don’t need to know that! So, why did you pick her? Was it love at first sight? Like, she was too pretty to be a…”
Jon slowly admitted, “Well, I wanted to live out this fantasy of-”
“La, la, la!” Ashlynn interrupted. “But Dad, why would you reply to an ad that said big dicks only? I mean, it’s not like you have a…”
Jon started, “Well, actually, I do have a-”
“Ew! Just stop!” Ashlynn threw the scrapbook off her lap. She could not look at them. It was a lot to process. She could not believe her parents had a past like this. “So, what was the point of this story? You want me to start hooking?”
“No!” Patty explained, “I devoted my life to my career.” Ashlynn made a face when she called prostituting a career. “Meeting your father made me realize that I wasn’t happy. Change is tough, but having someone by your side as you make the transition could really make a huge difference. I quit that job, and we used my call girl money to put ourselves through college. It was scary at first, but we are both still working ,and we have a family and plenty of money and friends. You need to find a way to create that balance for yourself so you can be happy and start enjoying your life.”
Ashlynn knew that they were right, but she could not begin to fathom finding her prince charming when she was in a situation like this. She had no job and lived with her parents, a former prostitute and her customer who had a big…She could not finish that thought. “I’m gonna be sick!” She got up and grabbed her shoes and a jacket.
Jon asked her, “Where are you going?”
“I got your point, but right now I gotta drink ’til those images are out of my mind!” She looked back at them and shuddered. She grabbed her keys out of a bowl by the door and ran out. Patty and Jon heard her say, “Ew!”