After the Divorce

September 28, 2011
By meghannicole BRONZE, Cincinnati, Ohio
meghannicole BRONZE, Cincinnati, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Ruth?” My brother's gritty voice voice deivers my name always as a question now, as if today a stranger will answer my phone.
“Hey Greg,” I reply, forcing a smile into my voice. His name sounds odd now, as if a jumble of vowels and consonants is all my brother is to me.
“How's the wedding? As bad as I thought?”
Some weddings are disgusting, but this one is revolting. Chintz tablecloths stifle the tables, carnation petals are heaped haphazardly like the aftermath of a pink hurricane, and superfluous bows cling to every vulnerable post, chair leg, and and centerpiece with a death grip. I'm huddled away from the flower carnage, watching the tribal ritual with increasing bemusement, as if studying some alien habitat.
“It really means a lot to me, Ruthie.” My mother had cornered me with a cat-liek smile in my old room on a previous weekend visit, bribing me with a home cooked meal and fresh laundry. “Like I'm starting over with your approval.” she blinked her powder-encrusted eyes at me, patted my shoulder as if to emphasize we were blood relations, and peered at me in a fauxe-motherly manner. It had seemed easier at the time to agree. You can't really say no to your mother.
I had endured the anxious phone calls, bought the gaudy dress, even gulped down mixed drinks with my mother's new vamping, tight jeaned, divorcee friends. Sufficeth to say, I felt out of place with her overly-tan, forty something counterparts.
Greg had refused to attend, claiming school and work and “life” as shield. I didn't expect him to come, however. He had barely com home in been home in years, his bed untouched and waiting. After several awkward visits home, the silence punctuated with forced conversations and closed doors, my mother seemed to have given up on him. The tearful phonecalls to Greg were replaced with trips t the local gym. She would return home in trendy yoga pants, trilling about vegan diets, odd fitness crazes and her orange, sun-bathed friends. She called it “being content,” but in private I called it “getting selective amnesia,” “ignoring her family,” and “going insane.”
I shift in my shimmering bridesmaid torture device, accidentally showcasing ample cleavage to the couple across from me. “The weddings fine,” I reply. “They seem happy.”
“Does she like him?” Greg's voice speeds up. “Does she seem happy; actually happy?” I pick at my dress for a second, choosing my words carefully. How can I describe this? My once demure, hair smoothing mother seemed to have shed a cocoon. “She's a different person with him. I think that's what she wants. She wishes you, were here” I leave my name out on purpose. This conversation is weighted enough as it is. We're grown up, we're older, and away at schools, yet we still never can say what we mean.
“I told you – I have classes I have a job...”
I sigh away the rest of the words. Excuses are just different ways to say the same thing.
“How's dad?” I ask because I have to.
“He's good. The resteraunt is going well.” MY father seemed to be out there, living the dream as well in a glorified bachalor pad from what I could tell.
There is a pause that is no longer awkward. Over time, the silences seemed less desperate and more expected. There was so much I wanted to say, but no words to capture the wreck my family had become.
“ Sweet. How are you doing?”
“Fine – Working a lot.”
“And the band?”
“Eh, it's going.”
“And Mariettta?” He has a new girl every time we talk. The latest one I'd met seemed to have a real talent for giggling and wearing so little clothing in all the right places, conveniently almost- flashing the whole bar.
“Well, we don't talk much now. You know how it goes.”
“I do."I pause for a monent, then rush forward. "'I've got to go... they're cutting the cake, ya know?" I end conversations on my terms as often as I can now.

"Talk to ya, later, kid. Tell mom I love her."

"Tell dad I love him, too." I say this becuase it's the befrudging truth.

With a click, my phone morphs into a useless mesh of plastic and steel. I adjust one of the grotsequely cute bows I hate so much, staring resolutely ahead. Greg s on one side of a glass mountain and I the other. We are both playing parent. Greg one for who won't grow up, I for one who is growing up too fast. I notice how it's funny how you can glance down at a ribbona dn glimpse a hole in your heart.

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