Why I am no longer invited to my boyfriend’s family parties
By Alissa Mangiacapre
My boyfriend’s dear Uncle Paulie lay flat on the ground with arms stretched out in front of him as he firmly grips the dusty brown carpet. A succession of tiny sweat beads drip down the exposed skin of his baldhead where an unconvincing toupee formerly resided.
For a moment he is still, seemingly perplexed by the fact that he is currently engaged in a lover’s embrace with the ground beneath him. All at once, his bushy brows elevate and cinch together when he notices the crimson nectar of his body’s vital mixture, pooling in between his tactfully trimmed mustache and bulbous nose. I am almost certain that the cut above his left eye can be seen from somewhere past the moon. This causes my sense of gravity to deplete, as I rise up and take cover.
I hear him moaning. My boyfriend’s cousins hastily move around the basement, scattering like worker ants seeking refuge from a bully’s magnifying glass. Behind the couch, under the coffee table, on top of the washing machine—it is a balancing act of extreme measures. A Cirque du Soleil of frightened relatives! Approximately seven guilty heads are hidden in the palms of fourteen trembling hands. Nervous chuckles and fast paced breaths escape their quivering lips.
I peek my head out from behind the liquor cabinet and watch as an unsightly glob of sauce slides down 1970’s clad wallpaper and sloppily lands on Uncle Paulie’s wrangler jeans. His clothes have always looked as if they had survived Vietnam, and now they’ve become victims of spaghetti warfare.
For as long as I can remember, garlic and oil infused aromas have always greeted me at the door whenever my boyfriend’s parents invited me to their house. The sweet and tangy smell of his mother’s traditional Sunday ragu has always been an indication that a pleasurable sense experience is pending. Certainly, this is not the case right now.
Today, the scent comes across as an “SOS” warning meant for my nose to receive. From where I am standing, I can see the hallway’s plastic runner rolled up like a 10-foot scroll engulfing Paulie’s feet. Evidently, his Birkenstock’s were taken prisoner by the temporary rug.
I can feel myself slowly losing control of my emotions. My eyes are watery and my vision is blurred. Suddenly, the seemingly ultrasonic tone of Aunt Franca’s screech reaches me sharply as she enters the room. I cover my ears and crouch down slowly. Like a teaspoon of honey trickling delicately onto a slice of Tuscan melon, a salty teardrop evacuates my eye and lands directly between my tightly pursed lips.
Oh no, it’s happening! I can no longer keep no longer contain it. Like a lion in heat, I let out a ferocious roar! My loud, mischievous laughter fills the room. Uncle Paulie’s incessant moaning comes to halt and suddenly all eyes are on me. Even with his glasses shattered beneath his cheek, he is still able to see me! And, with that terrifying look of betrayal, I knew right then and there that I would never be invited over for dinner again.