Fiction Funny

“How you doin’?” The woman on the other end of the phone asked.

              “Pretty much the same. You already know that I’m excited to meet your family and all, I just wish you’d be here when they arrive. I’m still pretty uncomfortable just thinking about it.” The man was somewhat jittery while speaking, never a fan of meeting new people.

              “Oh, come on, I know you’ve got it in you.” The woman said back, full of honesty and encouragement for her fiancé. “We’ve done everything we can to make it a little easier for you, babe. Getting them a ride from the airport so you don’t have to pick them up has saved you a ton of time, besides, they’ve been travelling for most of the day and might not even want to chat with you right away.”

              “Ha! Might not want to chat, eh? If there is one thing I know about your family, it’s their value on hospitality and conversation. Which, frankly, is one of the reasons I love you so much, and I know I’ll love your family, it’s just going to be a rough fifty minutes between their arrival and you getting home from work.”

              “Speaking of that!” the woman responded elatedly. “Guess who is getting off work thirty minutes early.”

              “Oh, thank God!” The man released an audible sigh, a clear sign that weight was being removed from his socially stressed body. “Well, maybe I can handle twenty minutes, then.” A slight smirk formed on his face.

              “You absolutely can.” The woman replied happily. “Hey, my phone is showing that they are pulling up to the apartment. Prep yourself, hon.” She let out an audible chuckle on the other end of the line. “I’m going to wrap up here so I can get home. You’ve got this! Love you.”

              “Love ya, see you soon Trila.” The man ended the call, taking one last deep breath before hearing the doorbell ring.

              He walked up to the entrance of his home, put an honest smile on his face, and opened the door. The weather was gorgeous outside, the cool air and natural sunlight creating a truly vibrant atmosphere that illuminated the family in front of him. From pictures he’d been shown, he could distinctly make out his fiancé’s father, mother, and younger sister. They spoke first.

              “Melto!” The family shouted in unison, the father extending his arms to embrace Bob, who was not expecting the warm hug.

              Bob smiled and embraced his soon-to-be father-in-law, replying back, “Hey! It’s so wonderful to finally see you in person! Come on in!” He backed away from the entrance and beckoned the family into his home.

              They each stepped in, their heads moving in every direction, fully taking in the intricacies and details of the home they were entering. The mother spoke, “Bob, your home is like a smooth lotion spread!” She looked back at him, smiling.

              Bob smiled in return, thinking quickly. She’s smiling, so that’s good. Smooth lotion spread, lotion is always good, right? Is there unsmooth lotion? “Thank you! Most of that is your daughter, she has such a keen eye for detail and design.

              “Like a goat’s lap she does!” the sister, Denna, replied.

              Bob continued smiling. Not sure about that one, but I don’t have to address it directly I guess “Great, let’s go ahead and get your bags settled into your spaces and, I’ll show you around if you’re not too tired. They don’t seem the slightest bit tired. I can show you where you’ll be sleeping.

              “Stenta!” the father replied with a smile.

              Everyone keeps smiling, so far so good. Bob looked at Trila’s sister, “Denna, we only have two bedrooms here so I have a pull-out couch over there that you can use.” Bob motioned towards the living room couch. “Your sister and I are also fine with you sharing our bed with her, and me taking the couch. I think she’s planning on talking with you about it when she gets home.”

              Denna looked up at Bob with a neutral face and nodded her head. “That’s helpful to know, Bob. Sleeping on couches for me is just like preparing a serving of Sivelto for supper.” She produced a slight expectant smile and aimed it at Bob.

              Bob stared awkwardly for moment, “Yes, I know what you mean Denna, good to know. He looked towards Trila’s parents. “Stellan, Merta, I’ll show you the room that you’ll be staying in.” He began heading towards and up the stairs. Okay, so only make one statement at a time. Is Sivelto an easy dish? We’ve never had it here, have we? Which of my comments was she responding to?

              “Oh!” Merta exclaimed as she began ascending the staircase. “You have a painting on the stairs.” She pointed to the only item on the wall above the stairs. “I’m sure Trila has already told you, but in Mendola’s folk history, to have paintings on your staircase means you are inviting the Bindol to visit your home, which you know effects the fertility of all of the men in the home. Not everyone believes it of course, but it’s the story nonetheless.”

              Fertility? What is that supposed to mean? Am I going to have more kids or no kids now?  “Oh, yeah, well, I just really like the painting, you know?” He let out a slight chuckle before continuing up the stairs, now hiding an awkwardly nervous face as he reached the first bedroom.

              “Speaking of fertility, here’s our bedroom.” Bob’s face fell simultaneously with his heart sinking, the words having barely escaped his lips. Oh, no. ‘Speaking of fertility?!’ Why did you just say that?! “Uh…”

              Stellan looked at Bob and gave him a single, solid slap on the back, breaking some of the tension in the room. The type of hit that implies brotherly love, and hopefully, Bob thought, non-aggression. “Fertility, eh? It sounds like we’ve got a conversation well suited for a Cariprisian farmer in July, no? Heh, ha!” He looked to his wife.

              Merta gave him an unimpressed eyebrow raise accompanied by the slightest smirk. “I guess it’s a good thing we have the painting on the stairs then, isn’t it?” What? Is this playful? Did I upset her? Why is it good to have the painting?

              “Mom?” Denna stated with embarrassment in her voice, rolling her eyes. “You’re quilting an ancient rose.” I’ll just not even try with that one.

              “Right, so, just down here is the guest bedroom where the two of you will stay.” Bob motioned towards Stellan and Merta. “Here, I’ll get those.” He grabbed their luggage and placed each bag on the table he had laid out for them. “There we go, any questions about the bedrooms? I think everything is pretty straightforward up here.”

              They all shook their head. “Great.” Bob replied. “The last stop up here is the shared bathroom. There’s another toilet downstairs, but we will all be sharing this shower. I hope that’s alright. I’ll show you.” Being deep into the bedroom and the furthest away from the door, Bob motioned the family down the hall. “You’ll see the door open.”

              The women moved through the door first, allowing Stellan to hang back slightly and make a whispered comment to Bob. “If you want to stay on the wife’s good side, and avoid stacking up any negative points with her, just know that, in our country, offering to handle a woman’s luggage is like celebrating Belatia exactly at sundown.” He smiled at Bob. “So, remember that piece of information when we are heading home and the luggage needs moved again.”

Belatia? That one sounds familiar. Trila’s had us acknowledge that one. Which means it’s probably important. Shoot! What’s the significance of sundown? Wait, was a woman’s luggage a euphemism? Are we still on the fertility stuff? Jeez. Trila, get home!

              “Bob?” Denna inquired. “I’m on my period and I’m curious about your wellspace.” He looked at her blankly, feeling discomfort and confusion with the question. They talk about puberty, periods, and everything body-related much more openly. I remember that. Wellspace? Bathroom? He looked at her and nodded, encouraging her to continue. “Yes, do you have a separate nook sack I could use? Oh, God, what is that?

              There’s no faking your way out of this one Bob, just admit you don’t know what that means. “Uh, I think Trila keeps most of hers under the sink right there.” Why didn’t you admit it?!

She stared at him inquisitively. “Most of them? Well, sheesh, how many can one girl need?!” She opened the cupboard beneath the sink and searched it. “I don’t see any down here, Bob.”

              “Oh.” Bob replied. Looks like you were wrong Bob! I’ll ask Trila about it later. “I’m not sure then.”

              “That’s okay.” She responded. “If pollies come to swim I can just use a different liner and toss it.” She walked out of the bathroom and started heading towards the stairs. Her parents followed.

              Bob waited a moment, thinking hard and looking over the bathroom. A liner? A liner for her…oh, a trash can? A nook sack? Small corner trashcan? He let out a defeated sigh. A separate small trash can for her to use while on her period. Nice Bob. Way to get that one wrong.

              He followed the family back to the main level where they were patiently awaiting his return. Bob smiled, beginning to run out of strength in his face muscles from all of the contorting. “Other than the living and dining areas that we can see from here, we just have the kitchen left. Last stop on the tour!” He pointed towards the kitchen. “There really isn’t much to say about it, standard kitchen really. Feel free to help yourself to anything in there that you would like, hopefully you can find everything okay, and please let us know if there is anything we can pick up from the grocery store.”

              Merta smiled at him before speaking. “Bob, I absolutely must make for you one of our culture’s best dishes. Well, we think it’s one of the best anyway!” She smiled and chuckled.

              “I would love that!” Bob replied. “Just, uh, tell me everything you need and I can pick it up at the store, assuming we don’t have the items here. Actually, let me grab my list and I can write the ingredients down.”

              Merta was beaming at him. “Wonderful! There may be a few items that aren’t in your country or that are hard to find; we can substitute if need be. And I apologize if I use the wrong words for some of the food. We have a rich farming history in Mendola and, despite using English, have many unique words for consumables.”

              God help me. “No worries at all! We’ll get whatever you need!” He had his pencil and paper ready.

              Okay, so we’ll need some batsil herbs, lukar sauce, salt, crack spice, redwell spice, cabrots, parsnips, perk potasos, red’s juice, daisy rice, snupperia bits, any hard-set meat is fine but we prefer pinker meat, goat’s blue if you can find it but regular is probably usable, salt sauce and bread spice. I think my way of cooking the dish is on the simpler side which always makes things easier. She smiled at Bob.

              Bob felt frozen to the grocery list, assuming everything he’d written was wrong. “We definitely have salt, but…uh…”

At that moment the front door opened, the sunlight shining through and bringing in Trila with it. Bob shot up and rushed to greet her, giving her the biggest hug and welcome that she had received in quite a few weeks. “Thank God you’re home!” He whispered excitedly. “Babe, I need a thesaurus or idiom book or something, I can’t understand anything!”

              She smiled at him, soaking in his humorous discomfort. “I guess fifteen years away from home really kicked the lingo out of my immediate memory. Sorry for not being clear on how different we talk. We’ll get you adjusted, love.” Her smile continued to light up the space. She gave her fiancé a kiss before hurrying over to greet her family. She shouted to them, “Melto!”

The End

July 07, 2021 20:37

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