Part 3: A Line Was Drawn
I grabbed Brandon's arm and with my sisters, walked back to our table. It wasn't until I sat back down that I realized I was shaking. My mom looked over, wanting to know what had just happened, why we were all so upset. My dad sat smiling, obliviously watching the dancing.
As I began to explain what had happened, my mother grew angry. My father, realizing something was wrong, also wanted to hear. I reexplained, this time the rest of the table, my aunt, her partner, and my two cousins, listened in as well.
My mother was fuming. My father didn't believe it at first. My aunt shook her head. Her partner, a psychologist, claimed early onset dementia. Brandon sat quiet, eyes staring at the floor, a single tear running down his cheek, when suddenly his phone rang. It was his mother.
"I'm going to take this," he whispered, getting up from the table, and walking towards the door.
"I knew it," my mom said. "There was no way she actually wanted to say hello to him." Her face was red, the agitation growing. My father attempted to calm her down. My aunt's partner continued to try and explain away the outburst. I stood up.
"I'm going to make sure he is okay," I said, making my way towards the door. As I walked around the dance floor I came face to face with my aunt, whose daughter's marriage we were supposed to be celebrating. She hugged me immediately. I told her how sorry I was that we had ruined her day. She assured me it wasn't my fault.
I continued on to find him. At first, I didn't see him outside. I panicked, until I saw him pacing at the far corner of the parking lot. He was still on the phone with his mother, but I approached anyway, waiting. When he hung up I didn't know what to say.
I found myself apologizing again.
It was my fault.
My request for him to get up.
My naivety that led him to such embarrassment,
to go back inside.
At some point, my grandparents, my aunt who had been sitting with us at the table, my aunt whose daughter had just gotten married, and their sister had made their way outside. A mob we would have to walk through to get back in.
My mother was waiting inside the door, watching for us. As we made our way through the crowd, they yelled. All of them yelling. Some at us. Some for peace, but all screaming for something. Instantly, my mom came out the door, defending.
I don't remember exactly what they said to us, or what my mother said in our defense, but it was in that moment that a line was drawn. It had suddenly become all of them versus us.