The he’ing and she’ing started in Pre-K and a beautiful little angelic looking blonde announced to me she and Cole were to be married.
“You have plenty of time to worry about getting married, Miss Mo,” I told her. “You both have college, he has vet school to attend. This is a long way off.”
She knew that and they had some issues to work out – Cole wants 10 children for some strange reason and Mo blatantly eats pork in front of him, declaring with a succulent tone that “Piggie was delicious.”
Cole was stricken.
Whether or not there will be any impending nuptials in a couple of decades, they have remained the dearest of friends, our families becoming close friends as well.
“Sister, you know I would love for Cole to be my son-in-law,” Mo’s mama, Angie has told me. “I love that little boy of yours. And you know I’d love to have you as family, too. It feels like you already are.”
I feel the same way. I love the whole family and that includes the grandparents on both sides.
“Ain’t never gonna happen,” Mama said, shaking her head.
“It could,” I disagreed.
“Nope,” Mama said. “No, the boy Mo will marry is going to be the one that will make Angie’s skin crawl. Not one she adores. Trust me, I speak from experience.”
That she does.
The first time Mama laid eyes on the ex, she knew two things: One, his hairstyle – with it long over one eye like he was Robert Smith from The Cure – made her nauseous; two, she had an instant dislike for him that she had never had before, which meant he would probably be the one to take her Kitten away.
Over the course of seven years, Mama prayed for us to break up, finding hope in every angry phone call that ended with me slamming down a receiver, waiting for me to tell him to take a hike.
Every tear I shed, Mama would declare there were more and better fish in the sea and I would find someone deserving of me. She could tick off all the reasons she didn’t care for him without dropping the ash off her Virginia Slim.
“He’s arrogant, egotistical, elitist and boring,” were a few at the top of the list. “And he needs to go to a barber shop and get that one-eye bang cut.”
One nasty argument involved whether or not animals had souls and went to Heaven ended with me yelling at him that he was everything my Mama thought and more – me obviously believing that my 17 cats all had souls and were Heaven bound to that giant sandbox in the sky when they passed. The ex told me there were no animals in heaven and they were soulless creatures. We fought for 20 minutes. When I emerged from my room, Mama pretended to be engrossed in her crossword puzzle.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“I gotta get ready, we have a date.”
“You’re going out with that cretin when he doesn’t think my Bennie’s going to heaven?” she exclaimed. “I can’t believe you didn’t break up with him – you obviously have nothing in common.”
A few years later, he proposed. I accepted. Mama rolled her eyes and promptly lit another Virginia Slim.
A few weeks later, we had a fight, and I told him where he could put that chintzy diamond ring.
Then I was begging my girlfriend Erin to drive me to where he was camping so I could eat crow and apologize. I think Mama lit two Virginia Slims at once.
On the morning of our wedding, Mama woke me up with “I will give you $10,000 to not go through with this.”
I frowned at her.
“You don’t have $10,000.”
“I can get it. Don’t worry about how, but I can. And I will. It’s not too late.”
After the wedding, the ex asked her if she was going to come up from the reception to throw bird seed at us, she told him she’d “love to throw something at him.”
We won’t get into how he was threatened with bodily harm by about three other people, one of them being the husband of my kindergarten teacher.
When we divorced four years later, Mama wasn’t exactly happy but she wasn’t exactly sad either.
“I know you are upset, so I am reserving my I told you so, but know it’s coming,” was how she answered the phone when I called her.
My uncle had told her.
We hadn’t spoke for a few weeks because of a fight involving the ex. But Bobby had called and I told him we were getting divorced. All Bobby wanted to know was if I was getting custody of that “Evil Beagle.”
“Maybe if I had tried to like him, you wouldn’t have married him,” Mama said one day. “Who am I kidding? Maybe if I had pretended to like him, you wouldn’t have been so dogged determined to marry him. But no, every time I said something about him, you were that more determined you were gonna marry him.”
A year or so later, a friend of mine called me up, wanting to go to lunch. She was upset and needed to talk.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I will tell you over lunch,” she said. I could hear the hurt, the anguish in her voice and immediately thought the worst.
We met at our usual place to have poppy seed chicken.
“It’s my daughter,” she began. “She’s seeing this boy and I cannot stand him. I mean, he is so slick and so greasy and so swarmy I could scream. I want to take a paper towel to his hair to get the gel out. I have never wanted to punch someone so hard in my life!”
I shook my head and sipped my lemonade.
“Girl, you better get to liking him or you know what’s gonna happen?
“You gonna be callin’ him son.”
And guess what? She did.