Nobody gets out of this one unscathed.
We were at a bar in the Ballard section of Seattle, one of those little neighborhoods caught in a gentrification battle. The bar in question had a name that was more fitting for a hardware store. Natalie and I were on phase two of our first date; after getting sushi down the street, we'd decided to hit this pub for a drink or two. Eventually the conversation led to our families, and I noted that I had two brothers, one who lived in Oakland, and another one who lived with my mother. "Don't get me wrong," I explained, "my mom likes having the company. But living at home just gives him an excuse not to put the work in to live on his own, something he's never done."
"Hey!" she said, "I live with my mother."
It's worth noting at this point that I didn't know much about this girl beyond that she was stoic and sarcastic. She could have been angry with me; she could've been joking. I really didn't know. I wondered if Natalie really did live with her mother. She could be the type that has a good job and lives at home for free food, rent, and laundry. Or maybe she'd been living with a boyfriend and had recently moved out.
The possibilities were endless, but I really didn't think she was the type to just sponge off her parents, so I guessed: "It's not the same. You have a good job, and you're just being a good daughter by taking care of her."
"No, it's not like that. When I was in grad school, she needed help buying the house so I agreed to move in with her. But it's my house too, I pay rent and I helped her do a lot of home improvements."
"Well, then, that's totally different than my brother."
"I know; I was just fucking with you. You should've seen the look on your face."
"So how does that impact your social life?" I asked.
"It doesn't. I mean, I only bring home guys who are significant, but it's my still my house, and I can bring people home if I want to. My mom just ignores them until it gets to the point where it's something serious."
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