Like So In Love
Jenna lent me one of her old dresses to wear and showed me how to fold over the little mark on the skirt when I sat down. I could not wait to go to this dinner and pick forks to eat different courses and touch up my lip gloss before dessert. My sister had that flush in her cheek every time she touched her ring, worth more than anything in our apartment.
She found love. She also read Romeo and Juliet last year so I borrowed her copy to read it and learn about love. Every Saturday at driver’s ed. class, I looked around to see if someone would borrow a pen from me and get lost in my eyes. Didn’t Molly Ringwald get that kiss over her cake on her sixteenth birthday? Whatever, most of my girlfriends were single as well and we sat in parking lots on Friday nights, eating jumbo bags of all-dressed chips.
Romeo and Juliet just find each other and knew right away. That is so cute. Am I supposed to know right away?
“Turn here,” Jenna said, and gripped ahold of the passenger door.
I spun the steering wheel, hand over hand, and it rebounded back with a lurch. “Careful!” Mom droned from the backseat, where she was filling in the scuff on her heels with Sharpie.
Mark was waiting at the end of the longest driveway I had ever seen to help Jenna out. I put the car keys in Mom’s purse and we linked arms to walk the cobblestones in our pointy heels. I had practiced up and down the hallway all last night. Mark was at least a head taller than Jenna and she hung onto his arm like a life-preserver as they climbed the porch steps. Lucky for Jenna, not only was his residency at the biggest hospital in the city but tall too! Tall, dark, and handsome, isn’t that the dream or something?
His mom shook my mom’s hand and told her to call her Mrs. Lyle. Mom’s voluminous sleeves caught in Mrs. Lyle’s tennis bracelet. The other relatives quickly started asking what we all wanted to drink and had us leave our shoes by the door. Jenna smiled with all of her teeth but I knew she was cursing inside because she couldn’t really reach to paint her toes anymore. I liked feeling the hardwood floors.
“You should get married out back. There’s like apple trees and stuff,” I murmured.
She shot me a look. “This isn’t his house. It’s his parents.”
Like duh, that’s why we’re here, Jenna.
Mrs. Lyle brought us some fizzy lemonade and the three of us squished opposite them on this little sofa with curved feet. Mr. Lyle kept getting up to refill his glass and Mark’s aunts and uncles all hovered by the fireplace, picking up little knickknacks. Did I take their seat?
Mark pulled a dining chair over so he could sit by Jenna which was so sweet and awkwardly held his hands in his lap. Maybe they’d ask me to be a bridesmaid! Thinking of the dress reminded me to fold over the little stain on mine, and conspicuously tucked it away.
“That ring has been passed down in Mark’s family six times.” Mrs. Lyle’s mouth was all puckered from the lemonade.
“Wow.” Mom crossed her legs and leaned forward with a big smile. God Mom, I wanted to pull her skirt down a bit. “That’s such a wonderful tradition. It’s lucky to have boys every time. I thought I was going to have a boy because of how I was carrying but Jenna and Kira surprised me both times.”
“Children are always a blessing.” Mrs. Lyle said finally after a long pause and reached over to pat her husband’s knee.
It really shows when two people are totally comfortable with each other. Jenna and Mark were just sitting quietly. He shredded a paper napkin, probably nervous. I wanted to shoot him a thumbs up, but Mr. Lyle had eagle eyes on us so I folded my hands just like my sister’s. They were so cute, so young and nervous. I feel like Romeo talked more though.
“If you need any help with the wedding planning, Kira and I would love to help.” Mom set down her glass on the side table and everyone immediately zeroed in on the condensation beads against the wood. “It’s just the two of us, and you know, many hands make light work!”
“Oh, I think it’ll be fine, thank you so much,” Mrs. Lyle assured her.
“I can also walk Jenna down the aisle. Don’t need a daddy for that.” Mom was smiling so much. Did I look that stupid when I smiled all the time?
“I think children benefit from having a father,” Mrs. Lyle said simply and picked up Mom’s glass from the table. The aunts and uncles collectively sighed, kind of like a chorus and gave me little smiles. I only know about choruses from that play and they kind of spell out how the two merging households bury bad blood or something. The interpretation of the play I found online was super long.
My sister smoothed down over her ripe pear belly and looked to Mark. He stood up abruptly to help his mother in the kitchen with the roast. I looked at my sister’s new in-laws, circling around us and thought my sister is so lucky to find love.