"what you do when you see your ex-wife at a party: 'hide in the corner and pout'... survey says?!"
i would be remiss if i failed to mention a momentous occurrence: after 12 years of out-and-out ugly-ass hateration, my parents actually conducted themselves in a genteel, polite, civil manner at my little sister's 30th birthday party at moretti's in edison park.
alas, we did actually dupe my father and his wife into coming -- we neglected to mention to them that my mother and her husband would be there. whoops-a-daisy! my mom and jack arrived and chatted everyone up drinking delicious wheat beer when tomás [not his real name -- just what we call him] and judy [a mid 40's version of jessica simpson] entered the private room. we stood with my mom by the bar on the other side of the room, discussing these felt-and-rhinestone poppy pins i make, when her eyes locked on the newest party guests.
have you ever been with a friend at a bar and they either see someone they have a massive crush on someone they dated for a long time? you know how they get all amped up? i could almost see the adrenaline rush -- her pupils dilated, face blanched, hands white-knuckling the pint glass. in that split second, i realized that no one really ever grows out of that. miraculously, my mother fought off the urgent fight-or-flight mechanism, beamed her biggest big-toothed grin, and promptly slugged down the remaining oktoberfest brew. casey [our family's newest quasi-therapist] went to the bar to refresh her refreshment in a show of support.
the night went well, far better than we all anticipated. you see, the last time i remember my parents at the same social gathering, we were at webster wine bar for our couple's shower. my father entered the gathering and promptly stationed himself in the corner closest to the door for fear of interacting with my mom. this made introducing him [who, at this point, had already put his foot down that he would not pay or participate in our wedding] to my in-laws-to-be all the more awkward because he refused to break the invisible force-field that kept him tethered there.
jack, my stepdad, talked with my dad [read "listened to my dad talk at him"] for an ungodly amount of time about fishing, and judy [never a discriminating chatter] talked everyone to pieces about anything. my mom and dad discussed a sundry of notables pertaining to the health of former and current brothers- and sisters-in-law. my mother primly folded her arms praying-mantis style and gripped her wrists in her trademark fashion and for one day, my sisters and i got to reminisce of days when my parents were married, still didn't like each other, but held closed the now-present yawning chasm that makes holidays and special events so trying for us. i don't blame them for the way they feel [hell, i begged them to split up]; i only know that seeing them try very hard to move on in some capacity that one night gave us three a wonderful feeling of hope and peace.