Mom and Dad met and married 30 years ago and tonight is their anniversary party. Corey has booked us all a table at Cougar’s and I’ve promised not to mention his cheap wife or his drinking if he doesn’t mention how butch my girlfriend looks or that I still haven’t managed to hold down a job for longer than 3 months. So what could go wrong?
“Maryanne! Over here.” I can see Mom jump up and wave as soon as I get into the restaurant. “Beth not with you?” she asks as I kiss her cheek.
“No Mom, Corey said family only. She’s at home.”
“Corey. You know Beth’s as good as part of the family. We’d have liked her to be here, wouldn’t we Jack?” Mom looks at Dad. “Jack! Stop looking at that girl and answer me.”
“C’mon Diane, as if I would look at anyone but you. Her ass is kinda cute though don’t cha think?” Mom elbows him in the ribs, that place she usually finds first time and that is quite often bruised. “Hey, I’m just playing with you. Your ass is better than hers now and back in the day, I was scared to let you walk out alone in case somebody made a play for you, you were so fine.”
Dad always knows what to say to Mom, but we all know he will go right back to watching the waitresses even on his wedding anniversary. He never forgets he was an 80s football star in school and might have gone all the way is it wasn’t for that injury when he started college. He thinks he’s still that buff guy, not a used car salesman with a paunch and hair like Jimmy Carter. Mom puts up with it but I think she gets really upset. Or she did until she started tennis lessons at the club and she doesn’t seem so bothered now.
I’m surprised when we all order and eat with a delicate truce holding, like no one wants to be the cause of yet another family row. We talk about nothing really but skim dangerously close to me working, until Mom asks Corey when he’s going to make her a Grandmom. That shuts him up better than anything I could say and she doesn’t even mean to. He drinks so much I doubt he could father a child if he wanted to.
At 9.30 my phone rings and it’s Beth, just like we planned. “Hi babe, you ok?” I ask her.
“Everything is fine but I miss you,” Beth says.
“Oh no, she’s really that sick?” I glance around the table then give my full attention back to the call. “Can you take her to the ER on your own?”
“I’ll pop the wine as soon as you leave.”
“That bloody car of yours,” I say. “When your Mom is better we’ll go to see my Dad and he’ll fix you up with something more reliable.” My old man nods his help, still chewing his steak. “Look as soon as we finish up here I’ll be...”
“Go now,” Mom says. “We’ll be fine and Beth needs you. Go on.”
“I’m on my way, babe. Tell your Mom to hang on and we’ll have her looked over real soon.” I get up to leave, kissing Mom and Dad before I go, and head for the door.
Outside, I ring Beth back. “Get the glasses honey, I’m all yours.”