Blip in the Radar?
“Morning,” I grunted as I shuffled down the stairs. Mom was puttering around the kitchen, and it looked like a pot of coffee was on. Ah. I loved my mom. It was the day after Christmas, and my dad, brother Charlie, sister in law Darla, and niece were all still sleeping upstairs but Mom had probably been up for a couple hours already, cleaning and running on her beloved treadmill.
I slumped on the table and pointed at the pot. “Please?” I said, my best puppy dog eyes begging for service. Luckily she laughed and poured a cup for me and another for herself, joining me at the table in the new pajama set Dad gave her yesterday.
“I take it you girls had a little too much last night?” Mom slid the cup over to me and I took a grateful sip as I pondered how to answer. No matter that Jessie and I were both in our mid to late 20s, it was still weird to have your mom joke about you getting drunk.
“Yeah, maybe,” I finally said as my head started to clear up. “Jessie wasn’t having a good day.” Mom slid her eyes over to me and raised her eyebrows at the understatement of the year. “
Jessie and I had left Minnesota for Christmas in Connecticut the day after the big fight between Jessie and Tyler, and though they seemingly had put a bandaid on it for the holidays, it wasn’t completely fixed yet. The second wi-fi was available, Jessie started texting Tyler. The look on Jessie’s face told me it wasn’t the best idea to get involved right now, but I couldn’t help sneak a peek or two.
you asked before I was ready was one I caught sight of from her.
It was embarrassing was another.
After that one, Jessie’s face had gone red and she slammed her phone in her purse and leaned back to close her eyes. As she leaned against the window, my temporary crabbiness about being in the middle seat evaporated. Jessie was in a really down mood, and I would do anything to make her happy, no matter if it involved being shoved up against a talkative older woman who smelled strongly of musky perfume and insisted on showing me multiple pictures of her grandchildren.
“Sounds like Tyler was the one who wanted to do the proposing,” Mom said as I finished up filling her in on the proposal, Tyler’s initial reaction, and their apparent fight.
I took another sip of coffee, feeling relaxed for the first time in ages. I looked around the comforting kitchen of the house I grew up in, and everything seemed right all at once. “Yeah. I guess it all came out the night they exchanged presents.” Tyler, who would normally be accompanying Jessie on the trip to Connecticut, wasn’t able to this time, so they exchanged presents on the 22nd instead. “She got him a new iPad, and made some joke about how she was going to get him a fancy watch, but already filled his jewelry quota for the year. For some reason, that triggered him to say that he wasn’t expecting a ring, and I guess it went downhill from there.”
Mom shook her head. “Tyler’s such a nice guy, and treats her so well. I can’t imagine him yelling at her.” She paused. “But then again, proposing is a man’s job and all…” her voice trailed off as I jerked my head up.
“Man’s job?!” I yelped, surprised. Mom wasn’t stuck in the dark ages by any means. “Isn’t that sort of sexist?”
She gave me a pointed look. “Maybe. But would YOU want a man to propose to you or the other way around?”
She had me there. I admired Jessie’s nerve to propose, but honestly, if it were me, I could have never done it myself. “Still though,” I insisted. “It shouldn’t matter who did what.” That’s exactly what I had told Jessie last night over several cups of spiked eggnog, after Jessie had spilled the story about how they got in a massive argument. “Who even knows what is going to happen next?” Jessie had wailed into my shoulder. I patted her back soothingly, half hoping it was the beer tears talking and half worried it was the real deal.
We heard the shower starting upstairs, and Mom got up to start preparing some breakfast. “Maybe,” she said, taking out the ingredients for my all time favorite quiche, “But did Jessie think about how she declined Tyler then basically took the moment right out of his hands, the one he had saved for, planned, and dreamed about, when SHE felt good and ready? Maybe he felt more than a little pushed around and that he had no say in the matter.”
She paused for a second and looked directly at me, and I had nothing to say to that. It was completely true.
“Well, they are engaged now…” I finished off lamely. “I think that is…”
Mom gave a little laugh. “Oh, I wouldn’t worry about this. Marriage is a lifetime of happiness, disappointments, compromises, and arguments. It might be hard for them to see now, but trust me, at the end, this will be a little blip on the radar.”
I nodded. “Maybe this would come across better from you than me. I’m not the one married or anything…”
Mom finished chopping up the ham for the quiche right as Charlie and Deanna came bouncing down the stairs.
“Not married?” Charlie feigned shock as he ruffled my hair. “Who wouldn’t want to marry my rug rat little sis? Unless it’s that Th-“
Deanna cut him off quickly before he could finish the world Theo. “I think he means ‘good morning, everyone!’” Darla said, cuffing him on the back of the head while giving me a sympathetic look. Charlie stuck his tongue out at her as he rubbed his head.
“So how’s Minneapolis treating you?” I started to fill them in on my job, MBA work, and search for a condo, taking in their advice on how to search for a place to live and navigate school while I thought about Jessie’s predicament. I really, really hoped Mom was right, and that it would all blow over soon. I resolved right then and there that Mom and I would invite Jessie out for lunch, and hopefully Mom would be able to share some wisdom with her.
Otherwise who knew what would happen.