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Authors: Theresa Alan

Getting Married (7 page)

BOOK: Getting Married
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Chapter 9

ith Will moving in, the house is a mess. Boxes are strewn everywhere. I silently mourn the loss of my closet space.

Will comes over every night after work with a load of stuff, and then he works on unpacking it. He’s so easygoing, letting me dictate exactly where I want him to put things.

My house has three rooms. They aren’t huge, but we have a master bedroom, the guestroom that will double as Will’s study, and my office. Still, with all of Will’s stuff being added to the fray, the house seems smaller by the second.

The weekend after we get back from Mark and Sienna’s, Will’s friends will help him move the last of his furniture in, and then it will be official: Will and I will be roomies at last.


ill is at his place tonight and I’m at my place packing for my trip to New York, when I call Gabrielle and ask her how things are going with Jeremy.

“It’s good, but it’s hard, you know, because of the kids,” she says. “It’s hard on me that he sees his ex-wife every other week. I’d really rather that she lived in Alaska and they didn’t have kids together. I was supposed to meet his kids for the first time this weekend, and Jeremy and his ex got into a fight while he was over there, and it turned out that he was over there for more than an hour. The whole time this was going on I was sitting at my house, wearing nice clothes and trying not to rub my lipstick off, waiting expectantly. By the time he got the kids, he was so wound up that he called and said he didn’t think it was such a good idea if I met them that day after all and that he’d call and tell me the details later. He didn’t call me all weekend, so then I felt like an idiot and called him on Monday and he gave me this abbreviated story, you know the way men do. I’m sure so much more happened, but I couldn’t get any details from him. It’s so hard that I don’t get to see him every other weekend, and his work schedule is already really crazy. Relationships are hard enough without an ex-wife and two kids and child support payments and eighty-hour work weeks. But I don’t know, I really love the guy.”

We talk a little more and I tell her about how Will and I are leaving for New York in the morning. When we hang up, I’m instantly restless. I realize that I’ve gotten used to spending every night with Will and I’m not used to being by myself anymore. I had lived alone for more than two years before Will came along and I was happy enough with that arrangement at the time, but now being alone feels strange. It’s amazing how quickly new patterns can be established.

I can’t stand the silence, so I call Rachel. “Hey, Rach, what’s up?”

“Nothing.” She expels a long and weary sigh, so I know that there is, in fact, something up. “What’s going on with you?”

“I’m just packing. Will and I are going to New York for the weekend to visit Sienna. I’ve never seen her new place. And Will will be meeting her for the first time.”

“I’m so jealous. I wish Jon and I could get away for the weekend.”

“Is something wrong, Rach?”

“It’s Jon’s mother. She can’t meet her medical expenses, but she doesn’t qualify for Medicaid. Jon wants us to make up the difference. It’ll be about eight hundred dollars a month. We’ve got seven hundred dollars worth of student loans per month that we should be paying off, but we’re deferring those loans as it is. We can’t afford the bills we already have, let alone new ones.”

“Can’t one of his siblings help out?”

“Beth and Sandy make even less than we do, if you can believe it. We’re still trying to pay off the money we borrowed to help Sandy get through rehab.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. I don’t have a clue.”

“Can I help?”

“Yes. If you win the lottery, give me some of the money.”

“I will. Absolutely. You can count on it. But if I don’t win the lottery, what then?”

“The only way you can help is to listen to me bitch. You’re doing a commendable job. What’s up with you?”

I tell her about the dinner with Will’s mother, making Doris out to be this evil villain and me to be a put-upon heroine boldly facing the injustice and adversity flung my way. I’m the one telling the story, so I’ll be heroic and valiant in my version of the tale if I want to.

“She’s acting like I’m denying Will fatherhood for my own selfishness or something,” I say.

“I don’t understand how she can be upset with you. Obviously, Will didn’t want to have kids or he would have had them the first time he was married.”

“Well, that’s not true. His first wife wasn’t able to have kids, so it simply was never an issue. Who knows? Maybe I can’t have kids either. Maybe all these years of birth control pills and condoms have been a giant waste of time.”

“Maybe,” she laughs. “I better let you go. I’m meeting with Shane.”

“Shane? Really? Why?”

“Oh, you know, just for lunch.”

“Just the two of you?”

“Yes, just the two of us. It’s lunch, Eva. That’s all.”

I squirm. I get the distinct feeling that that’s not all. “Well, have fun. I’ll talk to you later.”

After Rachel and I get off the phone with each other, I wonder what would happen if Will and I did get married and he lost his job and suddenly his mother got sick and we needed to pay for her to have hospice care or go into a nursing home. Or maybe she’d come to live with us, and since I work from home, what then? Would she finally begrudgingly show me affection, or would the remainder of our lives be an endless stream of conflict? These aren’t the typical things you worry about before you agree to spend your life with someone, but maybe they should be.

How would Rachel’s life have been different if she hadn’t gotten pregnant at eighteen? Would she have married Jon? Would she and he have broken up, dated other people, and ultimately end up with each other because that’s the way it was supposed to be? Or maybe Rachel would have fallen for an eccentric millionaire who didn’t want children. Or maybe she would have become a career-oriented lawyer and ended up on the Supreme Court. Would another path in life have been a happier one for her? Less happy? Or just different?

How would Gabrielle’s life have been different if she hadn’t been married to Dan? Were those years she spent with him a mistake? Of course, wondering about these things can’t change anything. We each have our personal histories that shape who we are.

I think about Evil Bitch Woman Lisa from Jon’s birthday party who bragged about getting married right on time at the age of twenty-five. When I was twenty-five, I was going back to school to change my career and my future completely. I’ve always been a mature person, but I needed several more years before I was at a place in my life where I could even begin to consider marriage. Will and I needed a little more time to rack up life experiences, sex partners, and mistakes before we were ready for each other. Our histories are messy, but they’re ours. But now we are in the places we need to be to make things work for us. That’s the important thing.

Chapter 10

ienna and Mark live in a cute but microscopic studio apartment in Brooklyn. Will and I have made reservations at a hotel close by since their place is too small to entertain visitors.

After dropping off our stuff at the hotel, Will and I walk the few blocks to Sienna and Mark’s place so we can get a tour of their apartment before we head downtown.

Sienna screams and squeezes me in a tight hug when she opens the door and sees us. When we finally stop crushing each other, she backs away and says, “Will, it is so good to finally meet you.” And she gives him a hug, too, though not of the internal-organ squishing variety that she gave me.

Mark is standing behind her, and when she’s done having her way with us, he embraces me and shakes Will’s hand.

“I’ll give you the tour,” Sienna says. She stands in the middle of the room and spreads her arms out. “This is the living room, bedroom, home office, study, and, if occasion calls for it, the guest bedroom. Through that door you’ll find the bathroom, and this,” she walks into the kitchen, which is only demarcated from the living room by a counter with stools on one side, “is the kitchen. It’s small, but we just need it to store our beer and leftover Chinese takeout, so it works out fine.”

“Please tell me you don’t work at this desk,” I say. Sienna works from home as an administrative assistant to a best-selling author, answering her fan mail and scheduling her speaking tours and trips to writing conferences. Sienna’s desk is clearly made for an extremely tall man and not for five-foot, four-inch Sienna. Her desk chair is a five-dollar wood hunk of junk, and I’m certain that any amount of sitting at it would cause severe neck and back pain, not to mention a supremely sore ass. And because the chair and desk are completely not at the right levels for her height, she’s created an elaborate set up using cardboard boxes and phone books to adjust the heights to something resembling an ergonomic working environment.

“I know. I’m an ergonomic mess. You ready to head out?”

Sienna is modest about her place, but it really is cute. She has a way with decorating the exposed brick wall and wood floors with bright colored touches that add up to a decidedly cute little space.

“Ready,” I say. I take Will’s hand and follow Sienna and Mark out.

We have to walk several blocks to catch the bus that takes us to the subway and then catch another bus, then we get out and walk several more blocks.

“Ah, so where is this place exactly, Canada?” I wouldn’t mind except I stupidly wore my new shoes that aren’t broken in yet, and I can feel the blisters forming with every pinching step.

“When you’re going from between boroughs or from the west side to the east side, it can take awhile,” Mark says.

“That’s one thing I love about when I visit you in Denver,” Sienna says. “It’s so amazing to just get in your car and drive exactly to where it is you want to go. Point A to point B, just like that.”

“There are advantages to living in cities that are like hick towns in comparison to New York,” I say. I always try to play up the good things about Denver when I’m around Sienna. I want Sienna to succeed at her goal of being a comedian, but I also want her to come back to Denver. I’m hoping that she gets so famous she can be based anywhere she wants, and she chooses Denver. The important thing, to me, is that she gets this New York crap out of her system and comes back to me. I want to live near my sister, but there is no way I’m going to move to New York, unless I become a multibillionaire. Even if I were wealthy, I’m not sure I could ever bring myself to spend four hundred thousand dollars on a condo the size of an Easy Bake Oven, which seems to be about all you can find in the city.

“Yeah. But there are a lot of great things about New York,” Mark says. “Is this your first time here, Eva?”

“No. I came here several years ago for a visit,” I say. “And you’re right. There are a lot of wonderful things about New York. I remember walking around Central Park and there was one outdoor concert after the other and all these plays and performances. I was staggered by how much there was to do all the time everywhere. And then the next day, my friend and I were just walking around checking out the city and we started seeing all these gay pride flags. We realized there was going to be a parade, and it turned out it was the Gay Pride Parade recognizing the thirtieth anniversary of Stonewall. We look up and we just happen to be standing in front of the Stonewall on Christopher Street, the freaking epicenter of where it all went down. We were witnessing history. It was so cool. There’s always something to do or see in New York. That’s definitely not the case in Denver.”

“Sometimes that’s a bad thing,” Sienna says. “Some nights I just want to stay home watching TV or reading a book, and in New York I always feel guilty if I don’t go out every night to enjoy all that the city has to offer.”

The place they take us to is a little Thai restaurant full of funky lighting, brushed stainless steel tables, and black lacquer plates.

When we go to order, Will asks if the green curry has any nuts in it.

“Oh, are you allergic to nuts, too?” Sienna asks him.

“Nope, he’s just looking out for me,” I say.

Sienna nods and smiles approvingly at me. Score points for Will!

We gorge ourselves on green curry, kung pao tofu, and plum wine.

“So, Mark, are you doing the comedy thing full-time?” Will asks.

“I’ve got a day job working at an art supply store.”

“Are you an artist as well as comedian?”

“No, but I am capable of ringing up art supplies for people who are artists.”

“How long have you been doing the comedy thing?”

“About five years total, but it has just been this last year that I really started getting serious about it.”

“I think that’s so cool that you’re brave enough to get out on stage,” Will says.

“What about you, Will? Eva tells me you’re a guitar player. Were you ever in a band?” Sienna asks.

“No,” he says, “These three buddies of mine also play instruments, so every now and then we’ll get some songs together for a party, but that’s about it. Like, for this Halloween party, we decided we’d play three or four songs, but change the lyrics. Like we took the Stray Cats’ ‘Stray Cat Strut’ and turned it into ‘Costume Rut’, about someone with no good costume ideas, that sort of thing.”

“Oh god, don’t bring up Halloween, I’m still feeling queasy from last Halloween,” Sienna says.

“The trouble began with spiked punch…” Mark says.

“As so much trouble does,” Will says.

“I seriously don’t know if I’ve ever been that ill in my life before,” Sienna says. “I don’t know what they put in that punch, but it tasted like Kool-Aid.”

“Sienna made an absolute spectacle of herself,” Mark says, affecting a lisp.

“Excuse me, was I a giant purple orc attacking Darren’s tree with a battle-ax?” she says.

“Ha, yeah, I guess I did do that,” Mark says. “I wanted to see how sharp my little sword thing was, so I started attacking the tree, and after a couple of minutes I turned around to see my friends Darren and Carlos. They’d been sitting behind me in lawn chairs, and they were just covered with wood chips.”

“And Darren’s poor tree had this huge bald spot on it; it looked so sad and pathetic. I don’t understand men’s attraction to weaponry. Will, do you have any experience with guns or knives or anything?”

I know this is another test for Sienna, and it is for me, too. Neither of us believe in having guns around the house.

Will thinks a moment. “The only thing I can think of is when I was in college, and I was living in the dorms. I had this bow and arrow and I wanted to see if an arrow would stick in the wall of my dorm room, so I let it rip. It went straight through the wall. A second later we hear this shrill scream, then footsteps thundering over to my room. Turns out it had gone through the neighbor’s wall and got stuck about six inches away from where my neighbor’s head had been.”

“Boys are so weird,” I say. “Sienna, would you ever think, hmm, I wonder what would happen if I just launched this weapon of mass destruction in my dorm room?”

“That would be a negative. A big N-O.”

“It’s in our blood since we were wee lads,” Mark says, this time adopting a Scottish accent. “To fight the good fight. To defend our bonnie lasses on pain of death!”

“Yeah, you two are total warriors. Just need a little war paint,” I say. Mark is scrawny and Will has the athletic prowess of a KitKat bar. I’m not convinced they could protect us from an enraged butterfly.

“Well, my gracious, I do believe our manhoods have been insulted,” Mark says to Will.

“You know I think you’re a manly man,” I say to Will, sidling up to him, fluttering my eyelashes coquettishly. He gives me a long, deep kiss.

“Get a room!” Mark and Sienna start heckling.

“All right, all right,” I say, pulling away from him. “Let’s go find someplace where there’s music.”

They take us to a jazz club several blocks away. We dance for maybe half an hour, though really Will and I just kind of make out in a swaying sort of way to the music. Sienna and Mark start teasing us again. We smile sheepishly. Really, we can’t seem to resist each other. Although in truth, we don’t try very hard.

“Come on, Sienna, let’s go get the next round,” I say.

Sienna follows me up to the bar where we order four more beers.

“So, what do you think?” I ask.

“I approve. He’s cute and funny and kind.”

“I told you.”

“I’m so happy for you. You two seem really happy together. I’m jealous of how you can’t keep your hands off each other.”

“Well, we’ve only been dating for seven months. Give us time.” Really though, I think Will and I are both just snuggly, hand-holding type people.

It’s late when we finally decide to head home. Will springs for a taxi so we don’t have to walk eighty-six blocks, switch buses fourteen times, and take the subway to get home. It’s nice that you don’t need a car in Manhattan, but if you don’t live in Manhattan yourself, getting around is a complicated public-transportation relay race.

We sleep in late the next morning, and the four of us meet up over bagels and coffee for breakfast before heading to MoMA for the day. Naturally, Mark and Will make smart-alecky remarks about the art work they don’t approve of. And they’re right, there are some paintings that I just don’t get why they are considered “art” and not “dreck.” Is it the-emperor-is-wearing-no-clothes situation or am I just an ignoramus? I don’t know. But other paintings make me want to get down on my knees and bow down in supplication to the artist, they are that good.

When our feet are museumed out and pleading for mercy we grab some dinner and then head over to the club where Sienna is going to perform that night.

The club is tiny and tables are packed so tightly together that I can tell what brand of hair products and skin cream the woman sitting next to me uses because my nostrils are essentially squashed against her lightly scented flesh. I tell Sienna to break a leg and she leaves us in the audience and heads backstage. Mark, Will, and I order drinks. The opening act is blessedly hilarious—there is nothing more painful than a bad opening act, whether it’s comedy, music, or whatever—so I’m relieved.

Just before Sienna is supposed to come on, Will says, “I’ll be right back.”

“But Sienna is about to come on.”

“I just need to use the bathroom real quick. I’ll be right back, I promise.”

When Sienna is introduced moments later and comes out on stage, I’m thoroughly annoyed with him for not using the bathroom earlier. Half the reason we came to New York was to see her perform!

When the applause dies down, Sienna begins, “So, my sister is in town with her boyfriend. Now, usually I don’t like to travel down the blue road of comedy…” Sienna sighs deeply and hangs her head in mock shame. “But my sister reminded me of a trip we took together, and it’s going to require me to talk about the important issue of male crotch-thrusting.” Naturally, the crowds whoops and hollers at the word “crotch.” And by the way, I have no idea what Sienna is talking about regarding me reminding her of a trip we took. Comedians make stuff up, but sound like they are telling a true story. Comedians never let the truth get in the way of a funny story. “Since I’m doing stand-up comedy, well, I don’t know if you know this, but I’m actually required to use the word ‘penis.’ If I don’t say ‘penis’ twice within the first two minutes of my routine, I get kicked out of the union. There, I’ve met my quota! Phew! Anyway, my sister and I went to Cancun during spring-break vacation one year. Cancun connotes a tropical getaway, but really you’re just visiting a frat house near a beach. The bars in Cancun are just a sea of drunk, horny Americans. My sister and I were trying to dance in our own little space, but the boys were attaching themselves to us like barnacles. We’d be dancing to techno music,” Sienna starts making techno music noises with her mouth pressed up close to the microphone. “Because it’s all bad early eighties American techno music down there. Apparently, they don’t have any music in Cancun since CDs were invented. So these guys would just attach themselves to your leg, thrusting their pelvis into you like some horny dog that just found a spare pillow on the living room floor.” Sienna begins thrusting her crotch and makes a funny face as she does it. The audience loves it. I love seeing her make people laugh.

“So, we came up with a move to defend ourselves.” She does a little side shuffle and then does a karate chop with her hands across her leg. “It’s called ‘the Erection Dodge.’ Use it. It works. But now…” Sienna takes a dramatic inhale, smiling solemnly and looking heavenward. “My sister doesn’t need the Erection Dodge to defend herself from drunk men in bars anymore because she has her own, nonscary man at her side. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take just a couple minutes out of my regularly scheduled routine…” My heart stops as I see Will walking out onto the stage, guitar in hand. “And give the mic to my sister’s boyfriend, Will Cummings.”

Will clears his throat and gives a little wave to the audience. “Hi, everybody.”

“Hi!” the audience calls back.

BOOK: Getting Married
6.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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