The curtain fell. The opera was over and the audience slowly filed from the theater. Everyone talked about the baritone, his looks, his voice, and his stage presence. No one was more excited and giddy than two sisters, Lucille age sixteen and Minnie fourteen.
“Did you see how gorgeous he was?” Minnie said.
“His voice was so pure I thought my heart was about to melt away,” Lucille said.
“We got to rush too the hospital and tell Momma,” Minnie said. “Do you have the program. It has his picture on it.”
“Yes I have it. I’m having it framed. Do you have enough money left to take the street car?” Lucille said.
“I used the extra to buy the program,” Minnie said.
“That’s okay,” Lucille said. “We can run just as fast.”
“I hope Momma hasn’t named our brother yet,” Minnie said. “Once she sees the picture on the program she’ll want to name him after our gorgeous baritone.”
The girls ran until their legs were about to give out. They slowed to catch their breath in a cold crisp November evening.
“He’s so handsome,” Minnie said breathless.
“How could anybody be that handsome?” Lucille said.
“I wonder if he’s married?” Minnie said.
“Oh, Minnie,” Lucille said. “He’s too old for you, but he’s just right for me,” and she giggled.
“You’re sixteen,” Minnie said. “You’re not ready for marriage.”
“I’ll soon be,” Lucille said assuredly. “And he’ll wait for me; all gentlemen with breeding do that.”
“I’m just two years behind you and when he sees my beautiful green eyes and curls he’ll wait for me,” Minnie fluttered her eyes and stroked her hair. “Besides I got sass.”
“Men of good breeding don’t like sass,” Lucille said and added softly. “They like women who are demur like me.”
“When did you become demur?” Minnie said.
“Right now,” Lucille said and began running toward the hospital.
“Demur girls don’t run,” Minnie said and ran after Lucille.
The girls arrived at the hospital. They caught their breath and sneaked past the receptionist’s and the nurse’s desk in the maternity ward. They slipped quietly into Momma’s room.
She was holding their five day old brother.
“Oh girls,” Momma said. “I wasn’t expecting you. It’s past visiting hours. Nothing is wrong is it?’
“No, Momma,” Lucille whispered we have something important for you to consider.
“First of all, how was the opera?” Momma said.
“It was gorgeous,” Minnie said.
“She means the baritone was gorgeous,” Lucille said.
“We’re both gonna marry him,” Minnie chuckled.
“Look, Momma,” Lucille said. “Here is his picture on the program.”
Momma held the picture near the light. “He is very handsome. I’d be proud to have him as a son-in-law even if he was married to both of you at the same time. That would mean only one extra setting at Thanksgiving.”
“Momma,” Lucille said. “Have you named our brother yet?”
“No,” Momma said.
“Now hold the program close to our brother,” Minnie said. “If they don’t resemble each other I don’t know who would.”
“Well they are both handsome,” Momma said.
“Please, please name our brother after our handsome opera singer,” Minnie pleaded.
Momma looked at the name on the program. “That’s a good strong name. Only a handsome boy should have that name. Yes, we’ll name him Byron Jackson.”
“Isn’t that a handsome name?” Minnie said.
“Names aren’t handsome,” Lucille corrected.
“This one is,” Minnie savored with her hands clutched to her heart.