Walt's Wonderings, Part 2

Monday, April 9, 2018

January 30th 

My parents are back from London!  If I didn't know better, I'd think Mom adopted a bit of a British accent.  Either that, or she's just trying to be lighthearted and stand apart from the Kentucky accent everyone has.  Regardless, my father's home and seems to be doing okay for now.  They said that the trial could go either way, either accelerate the degradation in his brain or temporarily improve him.  We'll find out...obviously, it's not a cure.  There is no known cure for CJD (Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease) so we're just hanging on to the hope that he'll stay one more day...one more day.

Or for Lexi's prom.
Or for Lexi's wedding.
Or to see Luka settle down (but who knows?  Maybe my grandkids won't even see that happen!) 
Or for my wedding.

 Let me tell you, telling my parents about Joanna's and my engagement was bittersweet.  Dad doesn't know I'm his son anymore...or anyone except Winston.  I guess that's just as far back as his memory can go right now, but it has improved some, considering that in November, he didn't remember any of us kids.  But anyway, he thinks I'm just a really good friend of Mom or some neighbor kid that eats over here all the time; depends on the day.  He reacted to our engagement thusly.  But Mom?  Well, that's another story.

"Walter, who's at the door?"
I have to admit, my mother's pretty keen on this sixth-sense of hers, knowing something's up.  I was on my way to the door anyway, as soon as I heard Jo's car pull into the driveway, but Mom still caught a glimpse of the car in the drive before I ushered Jo inside.
"Walter, what's going on?  You're acting squirrel-y--what's she doing here?  That's Joanna's car, isn't it?  Isn't she in D.C.?"
(Mind, she didn't know that I intended to find Jo when I dropped them off at the airport Christmas Eve.  I didn't tell her because she was getting a little bit of a sour attitude towards Joanna for choosing a job over me.)

"Um, yeah, ah..." Let me tell you, I've never been more concerned about my mother's upcoming reaction than in that moment.  That time I totaled my dad's car when I was sixteen...that's nothing compared to the uncertainty of whether your mother's about to fly across the room and shake your fiancee's teeth out or if she'll fly into a wedding-crazed tizzy about tulle and satin and flowers.
"Mom, she quit.  She decided--" I broke off and Joanna looked up at me with a grin that told me she was as nervous as I was. 
"I realized that I gave up one of the most precious treasures in this world, all for some stupid plan that wasn't worth the bother.  I hope you can forgive me for how I acted," she added.  I'm pretty sure she was shaking, and not from the winter chill.

Mom's face transformed from confusion, to mild irritation, to wonder. 
"Well, I'm glad to see you're home.  I must admit that I didn't see your departure coming, nor was I entirely pleased with it--"
"And I'm so sorry for it, Mrs. Larkin.  He's...you raised an amazing kid," Jo told her. 
"I know it," she smiled slowly, and just when I was about to tell Jo to leave so we could tell them at a later date, she broke out of whatever facade she'd put up and practically yanked her away from me in this huge bear-hug.  I'm pretty sure Joanna was terrified until she realized what Mom was doing--she'll never admit it, but her eyes were the size of dinner plates.  "And I'm glad you're home.  You're a good kid too, y'know."
"It just took way too long for me to open my eyes," Joanna laughed self-deprecatingly. (I wish she wouldn't do that.  Makes me wish I could show her who she really is...to me, anyway.  Not the image of herself she's got built in her mind.)

"But when she did..." I finally piped up and cleared my throat.  Mom let go of her and she came back over, tucking herself under my arm like a little bird before holding out that glorious left hand of hers.  I'm pretty sure Mom almost passed out, but when she came back to her senses, she was screaming at me and Lexi and everyone within hearing distance, asking why nobody had told her, asking when the wedding was set, exactly how the proposal went down, and then gleefully telling my dad, who was in his bed in another room.  And when the excitement finally died down and Jo left for the night, you know what she told me, at the young age of twenty?
"It's about time, boy."

I  have to agree with her, though.  It's about time...and I still can't get over how happy I am with the prospects of having Jo beside me for the rest of my life.  Every time I see her, I just get this little thrill knowing that someday soon, our goodbyes will turn into simple goodnights.