In case you forgot, our story takes place last Sunday. K was working, so I worked it out with AJ to watch my kids for the day.
I got to T's house just after noon for lunch. There were a million cars there. Well, not a million, but a lot more than usual. I parked on the street and walked up to his house. He met me at the door with a big smile. He guided me to the kitchen which was full of people. Everyone was talking in Vietnamese. T's younger sisters said hi to me and then went back to their conversations.
Because of the party, his house was full of relatives and friends who were staying at his house. (I think another work for them is "freeloaders"). T started introducing me to people. He did not introduce me as his boyfriend, or partner, just a friend. I expected that, but I thought it was nice he was making a point introduce me. It was not something he always does, so I appreciated the special effort.
There were so many people there was no place to sit at the table so a lot of people were standing up eating around the kitcen. While I was putting food on my plate, someone started talking to me. It was T's oldest sister. I have written about her before. She generally ignores me, but not today. She lives most of the time in California. She had arrived a couple of day previous for the party and would probably be staying the month.
She took me off guard, since she had never spoken to me before. She told me she about her new granddaughter. (T had told me his nephew had a new baby) and we talked for a few minutes about babies. I could not believe it. It was a total shift from what I was used to from her. She was warm and friendly. WOW!
After lunch it was time to get the cake. The picture at the top is the actual cake in my car. I knew it was a tall cake so I was nervous about it. He handed me the papers from the bakery and I saw what he paid for it. Now I was even more nervous. The last thing I needed was to be remembered as the guy who ruined the cake.
I headed off with one of T's sister-in laws. She does not speak much English so I didn't think there would be a lot of conversation. T often talks about how nice she is and she also know's the true nature of my relationship with T, so I automatically felt more comfortable with her.
We got the cake, loaded it in the car and I drove the 20 minutes from the bakery to the church hall. I spent the whole time white nuckled on the steering wheel. I pretended I had raw eggs on my feet and I had to operate the pedals gently so as not to break them. After what seemed like forever, we pulled into the church parking lot. Mission accomplished!! I did not have to unload the cake myself. There were already people at the church setting up, preparing food, and such. They took the cake and brought it into the large walk in cooler. I felt a huge weight lift on my shoulders.
Before I headed back to T's house, T's sister "D" asked me to help her bring in some huge pots of soup. Really big pots of soup. Oh, and they were hot too. Of course, that was no problem, I was happy to help. We each grabbed a handle and carried them into the kitchen. When we walked in, I heard "Hi Jim. Bring that pot over here."
What? Someone called me my name? I don't remember that ever happening before during one of T's family gatherings. Again I was taken off guard. Truth be told I did not recognize the person who spoke to me, and there was not any real conversation, but the acknowledgement by name was really nice. I also did not expect any conversation. The kitchen was a flurry of activity, so there was not really time for chit chat.
It was at this point, I was starting to feel hopeful the evening was not going to be as horrible as I first feared.