“So is this your. . . girlfriend. . . ?”
Somehow I’m standing in front of his best friend from high school. Unexpectedly. Because the universe has decided I might as well meet everyone important at once. And there’s this question.
We look at each other. His palms to the sky, with a half shrug. My head tilted with an eyebrow raise and probably a funny mouth thing. A Morse code of nods.
The angel-voice and devil-voice in my ears are shouting at each other. So loud I can barely hear the friend mumble, “Yeah, so, not, like. . . your cousin,” now aware of what he’s started.
“Girlfriend?! You can’t be somebody’s girlfriend!” in one ear, and “You had lunch with his third cousins! You came to New Jersey! You better be his girlfriend!”
I can’t tell who’s shouting what, but I give a final nod. Definitive.
“Yeah. . .” Ted finally says. “Yeah.”
The friend and I move on to proper introductions and are soon engaged in some sort of staring contest. I’m sober, but he’s not.
And Ted’s still saying to himself, “Yeah. . . Girlfriend sounds about right.”
To say meeting his family was non-traumatic would not be fair. Because they were lovely-- welcoming and clever and funny.
It was a long day, but I survived. I remember all the names, but I’m still working out how they fit together. We had strawberry shortcake for dessert. And after the drive home, we fell into bed, exhausted, but couldn’t fall asleep.
Girlfriend sounds about right.