Friday, June 27, 2008

PART TWELVE

Another week passed, and Sid and I were still not speaking. I had debated several times about calling him, but as my thumb hovered above the green 'Send' button I would change my mind. Things were still too fresh in my mind—I had seen Sidney's temper, and until I could ensure he would never lash out at me like that again I didn't want to speak to him.

On Thursday, Aunt Nathalie called me. "I just spoke with your mother. She and your father are going to be in town for the weekend."

"Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten." I had a fuzzy memory of my father calling last week and telling me he would be in Pittsburgh looking at some high school kids for the Canadiens. He was a scout, and he had the opportunity to travel throughout the United Sates and Canada, looking for fresh talent for Montreal.

"We're going out to dinner Friday night." She emphasized the word 'out.' Meaning I wouldn't be in Uncle Mario's house. She definitely knew Sid and I were having problems and she wanted to avoid the possibility of an unpleasant reunion during a family dinner.

"Great. I'll be there." I snapped my phone shut and slouched onto the couch. Seeing my parents was a chore—especially my mother. The last time we had spoken was during the Montreal game in late October. Apparently during intermission the commentators mentioned that Sid was dating Mario Lemieux's niece, and my irate mother called and demanded to know why she had to find out about my boyfriend from a hockey announcer.

***

Friday evening, I hurried home from work and changed into a black dress that was parent-appropriate. Meaning it was mid-shin length with three-quarter sleeves and a modest scoop neck. It looked like it belonged on a middle aged woman, but I couldn't bring myself to care. I wasn't trying to impress anybody.

I arrived at the restaurant fifteen minutes late. As I took my seat, my mother sent me a disapproving glance and my father told me my dress was very nice. Then I braced myself for the firing of questions.

"Why couldn't Sidney join us?" my mother asked. They hadn't met Sid yet. I had been trying to put it off and save him from my conservative, judgmental parents.

I noticed Aunt Nathalie's eyes flicker to me momentarily. "We're taking a break." I had been using that phrase a lot in the past week. It sounded a lot better than 'We're not speaking to each other.'

"I see," my mother sniffed. "That didn't last long. Although I'm sure you two were dating long before I knew anything about it."

I took a sip of water and ignored her.

"Are you alright, ma petite ange?" my father asked. I smiled. I had always been my father's 'little pumpkin.' "At least you two didn't get too serious. You've only been together a month, yes? So that's what, a few dinner dates?"

When it came to boys, my father lived in this alternate super conservative universe. Uncle Mario made a strange sound, like he was trying to choke back a laugh. Then I'm pretty sure Aunt Nathalie kicked him in the shin, because he colored and hid behind his menu.

"Could we talk about something else?" I suggested in a strained voice.

The conversation turned to my job. My mother couldn't understand why I was happy doing such dull work. "If you had to be in business, why couldn't you do marketing? That's slightly more appealing."

I clenched my jaw, plastered on an obnoxious fake smile, and managed to make it through dinner without throwing something. As we were getting ready to leave, my father suggested I show him and my mother my apartment.

"Why don't you come over tomorrow?" My apartment was a disaster area—empty takeout containers littered the kitchen and had begun to overflow into the living room, my bed wasn't made and most of my clothes were on the floor.

"I have to go to three games tomorrow," my father replied.

"I thought we could go shopping," my mother added.

"Oh. Yeah. Great." Inside, I was screaming NO NO NO. Shopping with my mother was more stressful than a final exam. Or a possible season-ending playoff game. Or being mugged at gunpoint.

"We won't stay long," my father said with a cheerful smile.

My parents followed me in their rented car to my building and parked beside me. "The building is nice," my mother observed in her least-condescending tone.

"It's brand new," I replied, leading them into the lobby. We took the elevator to my floor and I winced slightly before opening the door. "I really haven't had time to clean…"

My mother gasped when she stepped inside. "Karine, this is disgusting!" Her eyes scanned the dirty dishes and other random trash that was on every surface of my living room and kitchen.

"I'll clean tomorrow," I said sheepishly.

My father had made his way into my bedroom. "You know, I've always found that making the bed makes the entire room look better," he called. I rolled my eyes. My father had probably never made a bed in his life. I stepped into my bedroom and kicked a pair of red lace panties under my bed. Daddy didn't need to see that. "Other than your 'decorating,' the place isn't bad. It would be beautiful if you actually cleaned up after yourself."

I heard a clatter of dishes as my mother loaded my dishwasher. Always the perfectionist, she was probably about to go insane surrounded by my mess.

"Ah, Karine?" My father was peering into my closet. He pulled out one of Sid's suits and looked at me over his glasses. "Whose is this?" It was an inane question—he knew it belonged to Sidney. I think he was just hoping he wouldn't get the answer he was expecting. I prayed he didn't start going through my dresser. Somehow I couldn't see him finding a drawer full of Sidney's boxers ending pleasantly.

"Oh, I picked up Sidney's dry cleaning one day. I haven't had the chance to give them to him yet," I lied.

"Ah," my father replied, replacing the suit and looking very relieved. They left after my mother cleaned my kitchen and living room. She wanted to start on my bedroom, but I managed to keep her out. It was nearly midnight and if I was going to shop with my mother on Saturday, I needed a full nights sleep.

***

"So what happened between you and Sidney?" my mother asked as she tested perfumes at the makeup counter in Macy's.

"His temper got the best of him," I replied. I didn't need to go into detail. Not with her. "I told him I wanted some space."

"Ah. So you're punishing him for getting cocky."

"No, mother," I snapped. "I am not punishing him. Sid's under a lot of pressure, and I think he needs to calm down and relax a little before we start seeing each other again."

She sighed quietly. "Whatever, Karine." She shoved her wrist under my nose and ordered me to smell. "What do you think?"

4 comments:

Manda said...

that was wonderful, as always. I can't wait for you to update!

giveupon-me said...

perfect.

Aeryn said...

Loved it! Can't wait til' the next update.

giveupon-me said...

update?
please?