Daria: Are you going to the bridal shower?
Daria: Oh, come on.
Tata: No, and getting no-er.
Maybe a day later.
Auntie InExcelsisDeo: Are you coming to the bridal shower?
Auntie I.: Are you coming to the wedding?
Tata: I am. My invitation finally arrived with my name mispelled, and that guy who cooked your dinner last Italian Christmas Eve is labeled “And Guest.”
Auntie I.: Well, sure. We can spell “guest.”
For about ten years, Auntie’s husband Uncle – Frank, if you must know – has vexed oncologists with his magical ability to both have cancer and not have cancer. This leads to mesmerizing dinner table conversations.
Tata: So…how’s Frank?
Auntie I.: He’s dying. Pass the broccoli.
Tata: He’s what? What do his doctors say?
Auntie I.: “Keep the season tickets. His team has a good chance at the playoffs next year.”
Tata: Next year? He’s dying, just not now? What, Frank’s cancer isn’t clear on the death concept?
Auntie I.: Watch your mouth! It might hear you and learn.
We were all working with the idea, however painfully familiar, that Frank’s cancer was acting like a stupid, inoperable pet until September, when minor surgery revealed Frank’s pet had outgrown the lapdog stage. Suddenly, everything changed. The hospital sent him home. The hospital called him back in. He refused treatment. He accepted treatment. Auntie and Frank’s son Tony was sent to Iraq with the understanding that if things got bad, Tony would come home. Deserving Design had come and gone and after a few weeks, no one had time to put food into the fridge and dishes into the cabinets until my sister Daria did it. Somewhere in the haze of September, my cousin Sandy decided that since she and her boyfriend had already bought a house and were going to get married someday anyhow, now was the time to get hitched. And so a wedding was planned and executed in just about two months, which in New Jersey must constitute some sort of land speed record.
The Saturday of the bridal shower came and went without me. Daria tried to sound patient.
Tata: So how was it?
Daria: What do you fucking care?
Tata: I don’t.
Daria: The food was very nice. You would have appreciated the vegetable sushi. It was very artistic, and I made chicken liver pate, which you did not eat, though I am absolutely certain you wanted to.
In other words: I snoozed, I losed. Stay tuned for the next installment of this story, where we play the executive travel version of Stop Touching Me.