Intermezzo, In Which I Hate Nearly Everyone.

Some people are naturally good parents. They have empathy for and interest in their little charges, and they have the patience and foresight to understand how their decisions will affect the futures of their children. My sisters and brother seem to be good parents to their growing mob of French fry thieves. I…should have pets, because I am selfish and animals nip as a form of behavior modification. Unfortunately this week, Tata has disappeared and in my 9Wests stands the highly porous Mother of the Bride.

After the rehearsal dinner broke up, extra food was portioned out to family members on the basis of refrigerator space because this is The Wedding What Ate Tokyo, and on Saturday we’re having a post-ceremony, reception and after-party barbecue. Other people left the American Legion Hall with cakes and giant aluminum trays of tightly packed meatballs, ziti, kielbasa and beef with broccoli I suspected would reheat best as soup. Into my fridge I stuffed a huge buckling tray of fried chicken packed so solidly I was less afraid of it collapsing than sucking all the cold out of my dairy products, and two pies. These foods may have been truly delicious for all I knew or know now, Thursday, the day between the rehearsal and the wedding. I have been on a diet since 1968 because when I go off it I say yes to the menu. Thus, I can refuse food because this week I am eating like it is my job.

Mamie: What time is the actual wedding?
Tata: Two. The service starts at 2. You can be on time. I know it!
Mamie: What? It’s not my wedding!
Tata: Be sitting in that church at 2, you heartless bitch!
Mamie: I am so gonna spit in your gelato…

Relatives arrive from Virginia, Los Angeles, Florida and all corners of New Jersey. The phone rings off the hook. By the end of the day, I can’t answer any but yes/no questions, my fridge looks like Kentucky Fried Chicken made a house call, and I am slathering my face and body with moisturizer combinations that might stop the spread of the Sahara. The only normal thing about this day is that when I go to bed my tossing and turning goes on longer than I think possible. If I get any more tense I’m going to pop like a turgid tick.

I wake up Friday morning and it’s raining like a son of a bitch. When my brain doesn’t explode, I’m shocked.

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