The Jennifer Chronicles - Volume II
March 21, 2010How To Attend Your Mother's Wedding - Part Two
The rehearsal dinner was held at a steakhouse, complete with salad bar. On Randall's side, a lot of gray panthers showed up. There was a young straggler or two including a nimrod in an electric blue shirt and silicone slacks, a beer bottle welded to one hand and the start of a beer belly bulging over his belt. Every time we made eye contact, he winked at me. I rolled my eyes and stayed on the opposite side of the room.
The Brooklyn Brigade showed up for my mother. They ranged in age from mature to one day younger than God. After they forgave Randall for not being Jewish, there was a chorus of "Oy Veys" for me, the spinster daughter who was too thin and didn't have enough regard for her poor mother to marry or at least bring someone home from Seattle. It's tough being a disappointment. I worked on some coconut shrimp and sweet potato fries to alleviate my pain. After thirty minutes of a steady, yet loving brow beating, Carrie arrived to save me and we retreated to a corner.
Carrie was dressed in muted tones, very conservative, very un-Carrie. I'd been gone three months and I expected a new hair color, jet black with blond streaks, or red streaks, something. Instead, she was actually sporting her own hair color, a dark blondish red, worn straight and shoulder length. It was as if Carrie had re-booted herself since her wedding. Standing up as her maid of honor had been one of my last official acts before skipping town. We tried to keep up on e-mail; lately it had been more miss than hit.
We ate in comfortable silence, watching a tiny wisp of a woman with snow white hair and clutching her bulging purse hover near the salad bar with a plate.
"Is she one of yours?" Carrie asked.
I shook my head. "No, Randall's great Aunt somebody. My mother said to be polite and then stay away from her."
Carrie nodded. "I'd love to know what she's got in that purse. I'm betting it's a firearm."
"No, money. Definitely money."
We took a moment to watch her elbow Randall out of the way and heap another spoonful of shrimp on her plate.
"Speaking of money, fame, fortune, and the fast track, how's life in the fast lane?"
I took a deep breath and thought before speaking. It was a good question. I had worked for Peter Duncan for some time now. Everything was going well. I had taken the transfer and the chance that a good job would lead to a better career. Was the job what I thought it would be? No, not really. I was still an Executive Assistant but to be fair, Duncan trusted me with a lot more than typing and filing. A lot more. However, no matter how much of a whiz I was, interaction with Duncan was the job. My fate wasn't attached to the tasks, it was attached to Duncan, giving me a vague, uneasy feeling that I was there at his behest. This was something I hadn't counted on. And I hadn't thought to ask.
I had hesitated too long. "Good. It's good."
"Are you sleeping with him yet?"
"Are you attracted yet?"
I didn't answer.
We caught sight of the silver haired bullet steping on toes for yet another trip to the salad bar.
"Is it me or does her purse look bigger?" Carrie asked.
"I don't know. Look, what's with you and Scott?"
"What could be with us? We're married. Nothing happens after that. That's what they don't tell you. You sit around watching reality television asking stupid questions like chicken or fish for dinner and how was your day. Even my mother is calling me. She wants to see me."
I let Carrie get it out of her system. It was tough mourning one's lost youth, the demise of one's rebel without a cause-ness.
My mother came over to the table. She gave Carrie a kiss and then settled next to me, giving me a squeeze.
"I'm so glad you're here Joanie," she said.
I hugged her back and kissed her temple. I wasn't ashamed to admit it. I missed my mommy.
We all three watched as the little geriatric hammer, still clutching her purse, shoved her way through the crowd for another salad run.
"Mrs. B, you're going to need an ambulette if someone doesn't stop her. She's eating her body weight."
My mother sighed. "I know. We've tried to get her under control. She's such a beast. And no one wants to sit next to her. Everyone says she smells like fish."
At that moment, we watched a guest back into the tiny wizened terror. She teetered for a moment under the weight of her sagging plate. Then her purse flew open and a cascade of cold shrimp tumbled out onto the floor.
"Oh my," my mother said.
Next week: How To Attend Your Mother's Wedding - Part Three