I walked in right after the initial eruption. He was crashing things around on the bench and the sink the way I used to do when I got angry that no one had tidied up while I'd been gone. He looked at me. I can't even remember ever seeing him mad before.
"Michelle," he said "perfect fucking timing. How're you?" I don't think he really wanted to hear the answer. I perched myself at the kitchen bar and watched him wash the living daylights out of the china in the sink. They were obviously trying to contain the emotion that'd sparked right before I'd arrived. I wondered if I should stay or go - not knowing which - I did nothing. The boy stomped in. Then out. Then in again and It flared up for another set-to.
"Well somebody had better go out and find the fucking dog" he seethed, "if someone other than me would think about that animal for once it would be a fucking miracle."
"The dog's gone?" I asked. I know their pup had a habit of bolting at every given opportunity.
"Yes" he seethed "all fucking day, since I left for work this morning. God only knows where he is by now." his attention turned to his eldest boy "You know that yard doesn't hold him; why did you leave him there?"
The boy barked back "The yard does hold him!"
"It bloody does not, he can jump that fence!"
"I made it so he couldn't jump the fence there's no way he got out of there!"
Voices were louder, things were getting crashier, they weren't going to worry that I was standing in the middle of their family argument - no holds were bared. Hammers _and_ tongs. Dishes being forced clean and shoes being shoved on. The boy was going to find the dog. He slammed the door on his way out.
Silence. Perched on the kitchen bar. Silence.
I noticed a cup in the pantry. "You have a Sarah's Garden cup?"
He looked around "Oh.. oh.. that thing? That's yours." He was rubbing the surface off the granite counter with a dishcloth.
It certainly looked like mine but I couldn't recall anytime I would have brought my cup around let alone left it here. I walked over and picked it up, examining it to see it was exactly the same as my cup. Maybe it was my cup, I wracked my brain. "I've never brought my cup over here have I? How can this be my cup?"
I was having a complete alzheimer's moment.
"You didn't" he said, opening the fridge "we bought it for you - it's your Christmas present." I was stunned "Which," he continued "you could have opened on Christmas morning if you'd bothered to show up!" They'd invited me over for Christmas breakfast but, between the fizzy booze and the russian fudge at Greg's place, I'd fallen into a hypoglycemic coma on the couch and never made it.
"You bought this for me?" I was so touched and surprised "Do you know now expensive these things are? I mean.. no one pays fifty bucks for a coffee mug."
"Apparently, we do." he said, taking the bottle of wine from the fridge door and putting it on the counter next to the two wine glasses "Mine's the big one, by the way and you're pouring."
I smoothed my hands over the mug, not so much for the fact I liked it as that they had bought it for me and I said as much to him. "I'm going to leave it here so I can use it when I come over." I put it back on the pantry shelf where I'd first seen it and saw to opening the wine. I poured heavily into his glass and said "You love me, you really love me! I really am part of the family!" he lifted his glass and said, "What a fucking fine family it is." and took a deep drink from his glass.
The boy had come back, slamming the front door with a irritatingly cheery dog in tow "You're a cock, Ron." he said to his father.
"Fucking charming, Rick." he said to his son. "Welcome to the family, Michelle."