Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thanksgiving with ?


My mother has decided that she’s not going to celebrate Thanksgiving. She claims she’s been doing the cooking and cleaning for years and she’s taking a break. Period. End of Discussion.

My mother and I have very different memories of Thanksgiving. I recall my grandmother doing the bulk of the cooking, particularly because we lived with Nana until I was thirteen. Nana passed away from breast cancer when I was twenty-one, when my daughter was only three, too young to have any memories of such a wonderful woman.

I’d offer to have Thanksgiving at my apartment, but the thought is claustrophobic. I only have four chairs, which is not a big deal, but I don’t have room for anything more than five. And this is how Cole came to my rescue once again.

He invited me to his parents house for the holiday.

I adore Cole’s parents, Ted and Sandy. They’ve been married thirty years. I don’t see Ted as the kind of husband that would want to—or rather need to—come see a girl like me. From what I’ve observed, Ted and Sandy have a tangible attraction, as well as friendship and perhaps more importantly the unified front of raising two happy and productive children to adulthood.

Cole also informed me that his Hillary, his sister, will be there.

Hillary is a stunning blonde who moved to Los Angeles to be a photographer. She has an agent and everything, and lives with other young, model-actor types. Although she could easily be intimidating because of her looks, successful job and non-traditional ways, she always brings a sisterly love to our interactions and invigorates any family get-together.

“Well I definitely want to go then.”

“Good, because she says she’s not flying all that way if she doesn’t get to see Analise.”

Cole has the kind of family I wish I could provide for my daughter and seeing her with them makes me both happy and ashamed. Analise is a natural extrovert and she basks in the attention from Cole’s family. Part of me feels that is makes it more apparent how my situation falls short and I also worry that a falling-out between Cole and I would take this, yet another disappointment, away from her. But I realize we really have nowhere else to go and what’s Thanksgiving if it’s just the same meal at our apartment.

Cole seems relieved I agreed to go and mentions how excited his parents, particularly his mother will be. Every time we go to his parents’ house, Sandy buys a little something for Analise, as if she’s her own granddaughter. I also realize how much more Cole has to offer a future spouse than I can.

“How are things at your apartment?” Cole asks.

“Fine, why.”

He shrugs as we walk towards a section of couches.

“You aren’t going to renew your lease, are you?”

“I might have to. At least another year.”

Cole worries about where I live. I can tell he doesn’t want to insult me by indicating I’m living in a dump, but he has concerns over the goings on in the complex. And he doesn’t need to even hint that it’s not the best place for a child.

Cole is currently living at his parents place while he saves up to buy a house. He doesn’t actually live in the same house as his parents; he lives in the guesthouse, which is a little rustic, somewhat of a sophisticated barn with plumbing.

“Why don’t you consider moving into the guesthouse?”

“With you?” I ask.

He raises one eyebrow and laughs. “If you want, yes, but I was thinking after I buy a house. My parents don’t even use it.” He pauses to see my reaction and then continues with what seems rehearsed. “I know the place isn’t much, but if you want to live there, I can remodel the bathroom and do a few other things. It would be free.”

I really didn’t see this coming.

“This is really generous. I don’t know,” I say, looking into my lap and twisting my napkin until tiny pieces tear.

“You haven’t been there in a while, but it already looks much better.”

“No longer a fancy barn?” I ask.

“Nope.”

How did I ever get so lucky as to deserve a guy like Cole?