I didn’t know sushi would have the effect it did on my digestive system prior to eating some for the first time at my fiancée’s parents’ house. My stomach’s revulsion to the uncooked fish, rice and vegetables was too rapid to contain.
The expensive silver table cloth commemorating my host’s 50th Wedding Anniversary was ruined.
I also didn’t know my future in-laws had weak stomachs. The chain reaction of gastro-unpleasantness was not a pretty sight.
“I’m so sorry, Betty and Mr. and Mrs. John…”
I had to cut my apology short and dash to the downstairs bathroom. On the way I heard the anniversary couple excuse themselves to the facilities upstairs.
After splashing cold water on my face, I looked at myself in the mirror.
Great first impression. It’s not enough I don’t own a house or make a lot of money, but I have to fly to New Jersey to humiliate myself in front of Betty and her parents.
After deciding my clothes were still presentable, I undid my trousers and re-tucked my shirt. After fastening my belt, I took a deep breath and headed back out to face the music.
When I walked through the dining room I noticed the windows had been opened and saw the Johnson’s service help carefully clearing the table.
“Benjamin, is that you? We’re in here.”
Betty’s voice came from an adjoining room.
She doesn‘t sound mad.
Upon entering the Sitting Room, I was about to apologize again, but I noticed a very embarrassed and shocked expression on Betty’s face.
Oh, Oh, she is upset.
I just stood there; big and dumb.
“Honey…” Betty said slowly, nodding her head downwards.
I think she’s trying to tell me something.
I looked behind me, but didn‘t see anything.
With a slight smile, Mrs. Johnson set her teacup down and calmly said, “XYZ.”
XYZ? Oh no!
I peeked down quickly and fled yet another room.
After making sure I was completely fastened up this time, I tried to find the courage to face Betty and her parents again.
“Well, that was certainly special,” Mr. Johnson said with a grin as I took a seat next to the multi-millionaire’s only daughter.
I looked Betty in the face.
“I am so, so sorry.”
Betty’s face contorted and she turned her head.
I really did it this time.
When she turned back around she handed me a mint.
“Oh yea, my breath, thank you.”
I wanted to die.
“Benjamin, dear,” Mrs. Johnson said with the sweetest, kindest voice I ever heard, “just relax. No big harm was done. Would you like some tea?”
“No thank you. I think I’ll just chew on this mint for awhile.”
Betty patted my leg, leaned into me and whispered, “I love you.”
“Do you see that, son?” Mr. Johnson’s tone was calm and polite. “Look at my daughter’s face. She gazes at you like Samantha does me. She loves you.”
I turned my head towards Betty’s deep brown eyes, her perfectly tailored eyebrows, her bright smile, and my heart melted.
“I love her too, sir. And I would like to apologize…”
“No need for that, son. Things happen; we’ll fly in to New York tomorrow and eat some cooked meat.”
Mrs. Johnson respectfully cut me off.
“Benjamin, dear, we could not have received a greater anniversary present than what we saw tonight in our daughter’s eyes. You don’t know how many years we’ve prayed she would truly find love.”
Mr. Johnson cleared his throat and wiped a tear from his eye.
“You reminded me of what love really is; what Sam and I shared before we had all of this. I know you feel like you can’t support our daughter the way you may think we feel she should, but you’re wrong. You run a Christian orphanage. You both help parentless children. That’s worth more than all the wealth we have.”
“Amen,” said Mrs. Johnson. “Granted,” she added with a smile, “your first impression, on the surface, was, let‘s say, memorable, but nothing you did tonight spoke ill of your heart or soul. You just proved you’re human. I’m glad our Betty found a real man.”
I felt relieved I could have survived such a night. I leaned over and gave Betty a long kiss.
Mr. Johnson‘s cough interrupted. “One more thing before we call it a night.”
His stern look concerned me.
Maybe I’m not out of the woods yet?
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