Meet the Parents

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  “We’ve heard so much about you dear,” my mother says, smiling at Emma sweetly. Emma tries her best to return the expression but succeeds only in cracking her lips further. She’s in this cute summer dress, a pretty pattern of light blue petals across the white cotton that really brings out the hue of her skin. 

  “She’s a real looker, son,” my father exclaims with a wink. Mom elbows him in the ribs.
  “Frank, behave” she says. Emma’s eyes shine. She looks genuinely happy, as much as that’s possible these days. She’s bubbly and energetic around my parents, probably because the whole dead thing just doesn’t seem to bother them. It’s weird. When I told them I was bringing her today they practically squealed with excitement. They never got a chance to meet her before the accident so I guess they really dug this chance to rectify that missed opportunity.

  “Dinner smells great, Mrs. Thompson” Emma says. She’s right. The thanksgiving meal being prepared in the kitchen does smell fantastic, and it’s doing an OK job of covering up the musty smell of rotten fruit I’ve all but gotten used to. Mom cooks a seriously mean turkey.

  “Please,” Mom said, bursting with pride that she fails to cover up, “It’s Dianne.”

  “When’s Bobby getting here?” I ask, looking at the clock. The asshole always runs late, but this time it’s kind of important. It surprises me more than anyone that this is the case. I’ve never been big on the whole introduction thing when it came to girlfriends, it always makes things too formal. Serious. Gives the girl the wrong idea, you know? Hell, no one saw Jenna once in the three years I plugged her back in the dying years of the nineties, but with Emma it’s different. I can actually see a future with us.

  Before anyone has a chance to answer my question the doorbell rings, a novelty melody that everyone but mom cringes at.
  “That’ll be him now,” she says, clapping her hands together twice. She is seriously pumped. I guess I can understand why. It’s been so long since the family got together. Usually Bobby and I ignore our folks. It’s a four hour drive over to Clear Lake for me. I don’t know what his excuse is. Emma scratches the back of her hand nervously and I take it in mine as Pop goes to get the door. 

  “Don’t worry about it,” I whisper to her, “you’ll like Bobby. Everyone does.”
  “Yeah but will he like me?” she asks, the nerves apparent in her voice.

  Bobby and Emma had met before at a New Years party I’d taken her to, back when she was alive, not that either of them really remembered it. As far as Emma was concerned the obscene amount of liquor present at that particular function voided any familiarity between them and was determined to start fresh today.

  I open my mouth to tell her that Bobby likes everyone when the man, the legend, the douche walks in carrying a six pack, a huge grin plastered across his face. I haven’t actually seen him since the party, acting like a goof as he carried an entirely petrified Emma around on his shoulders. He looks good, I guess. He got a promotion since and it shows.

  “Bobby, this is-” I start.

  “Emma!” he shouts, foisting the beer into my unsuspecting father’s arms and rushing forward to greet her. “You’re looking great.”

  “Gee, thanks Bobby,” Emma says quietly, her hopes of new beginnings disappearing, “you’re not looking too shabby yourself.”

  “Yeah well, I’m sober this time,” he says and grins. “We both are. You do something to your hair?” he reaches forward and tugs a lock lightly. As light as it was, the strand of hair tears effortlessly out of the messy clump atop Emma’s head. My mouth falls open. An awkward silence immediately begins to fill the room before Bobby bursts into peels of raucous laughter.

  “Oh hey,” he says between gulps for air, “I’m sorry Emma, here,” he hands the hair back to her.

  “No problem,” she says without missing a beat and beginning to laugh herself, “happens all the time.” She tucks it back into her hair neatly.

  I refrain from joining in with the laughter simply so we won’t look like that all-American family you see on commercials or seventies sit-coms, but then Mom goes and asks Emma to help her out in the kitchen and Bobby and Pop crack open the beer and sit down to watch the game and oh god we’re there already, my wishes be damned. Bobby tosses me a can and I catch it and sit down and give in to it all.

  From the kitchen Emma gives me a thumbs up and manages somehow to beam and I figure it can’t be all bad.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
So! This darling little series rears its pretty head again, unexpectedly perhaps, but welcome nevertheless. And for all those who are hung up on minor details like gradual decomposition just go with it. It’s more enjoyable that way 😉 Header is once again taken from Pretty Zombie Attack. Special thanks to Joe McDonald for the idea to – ahem – revive this particular gem with a wonderful meet the parents idea. 

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~ by Joseph Blame on August 22, 2010.

One Response to “Meet the Parents”

  1. I love this random little series. It’s so wholesome!

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