Awkwardness & The Drunken Mother
by Jane Moneypenny
See previous entry for nickname references.*
“Mike, isn’t Jane beautiful? She’s single, you know. Jane, Mike is single. He’s my favorite newphew. You two should…”
“Mom! She’s RIGHT THERE.” yells her 15-year old son, Girly Girl*.
“Well, I’m just sayin’. Don’t you think, Mike?”
Mike laughs and agrees heartily.
But I’m used to Mrs. C and her blunt comments, especially with the love lives of her family. I stick my hand out and shake his hand and smile.
“He’s the one cousin I’ve yet to meet in this huge family.”
Mr. Bruised Ego laughs, “You know Mike never says anything he doesn’t mean. He has no filter.”
Mrs. C turns to Pen* and attempts to set him up with the much younger sister of Mike; she makes one of her children go grab the extended family photo to show him how pretty she is. We look at each other and place bets on who’s going to marry into the family first.
We’re at an old-fashioned family crab boil to celebrate a few birthdays of the C family. Mr. Bruised Ego’s entire extended family shows up and most remember my stint with them for Thanksgiving a few years ago and paintball with the guy cousins. We spend a fun night teaching Pen to dissemble and eat crab. He almost turns vegetarian at the amount of work and the “look” in the crabs’ eyes when killing them.
The night goes on and Mrs. C, with even more alcohol in her, wonders out loud (very loudly, among our group of friends), why Mr. Bruised Ego and I never dated. Awkward. I shrug my shoulders. It’s something he and I never talk about; it was a casual thing in the past that only happened when we were in the same city and we’ve both moved far beyond that. But Mrs. C doesn’t know that (or anyone there, really) and continues on about how her 11-year old daughter, the author of these nicknames, wants us to get married so we’ll have beautiful Asian-Italian babies.
I raise my eyes at the younger girl, who has apparently gotten very attached to me, and remind her that Mr. Bruised Ego has a very serious girlfriend. She smiles and shrugs her shoulders and her mom continues to chatter on.
“She likes you very much. You better visit us when Mr. Bruised Ego goes to California. He’s talked about you since college. Our family really likes Asian girls and he always brings beautiful ones home.”
By this time, I’m dying in laughter and Pen is grinning in delight because I’ve got two ins into the family now and he’s determined to win this bet.
Little does anyone know, there’s a subtle quiet chemistry between me and Pen. He’s my type: loves baseball, hard worker, public school teacher, Peace Corps, good-looking and smart. I swear there’s some attraction there; it’s in the glances, the standing close, the smiles. A the end of the night, Pen’s hug was a good one: Not those awkward, body-not-touching, pat-on-the back hugs, but full body, tight squeeze kind. During a conversation about architecture about a promise to prove to me something, he commented we should exchange contact info. Then again, it’s probably in my head and just general sticking together in a room full of one family. But in typical Jane Moneypenny life story way, he leaves on an early flight to NY tomorrow morning and that’s that.
And so I go home without any confirmation, but a new very good-looking friend. Like I need another one of those!