wrote this today, found it sort of amusing:
Every pew but the back row is filled.
David and I file in, me first. I slide down the narrow walk between pew and shelved hymnals until I reach a safe distance from the only other person in this row.
He is holding a hymnal and singing, but I know he is watching me as I slough off my coat and reach for a hymnal of my own. I know this because I can see the corners of his mouth turn upward as I straighten my hair and fumble with the hymnal for the clumsy frozen tips of my fingers. David notices too. He looks at Allister with an expression that is almost glaring with fierce protection. But the music overtakes us all and even in the pause for greeting before the homily there is no time to think as people are hugging David, exclaiming over him and asking about Lauren who is so lucky to have snatched him up. Allister is talking with someone else, an older gentlemen who still comes to church though his wife can no longer make the journey. I am simply smiling and wishing that someone would rescue me from the awkward moments of standing alone between conversations. And then there is a whisper in my ear, a hand on my wrist that makes me jump.
“I didn’t realize you were engaged,” Allister whispers.
“What? I’m not.”
“But all these people are congratulating him,” he says and jerks his head towards David.
“Yeah about Lauren,” I say and roll my eyes a little.
“Ah,” he nods, “well, sorry for the cock up. I was ready to congratulate you two,” but then Reverend Matthias is telling is to sit down and take notice for the homily will soon begin. I lean to David before Reverend Mullaney reaches the pulpit after Matthias has prayed.
“What does cock up mean? It’s some slang I haven’t heard before. I mean, it must be, right?” These are the moments when growing up between cultures becomes a hazard.
David chuckles, “it means mistake. A cock up means someone make a mistake.” He laughs quietly as the blush fades from my cheeks and I look more relaxed, “nothing to do with male anatomy,” he whispers.
Someday, I will live in a place and know all the slang. Someday I will know what everything means because I will be one of the people who belong and no longer an outsider trying to squirm her way inside. Someday.