Price Breaks And Heartaches
A journal of retail and failed romance
Al And Tallulah’s Wild Ride
Another concert came along, this was a double bill with Megadeth and Dio. Dave Mustaine and company made a fan out of me with their amazing blistering set. Then Dio came on. Now I should say that I was looking forward to seeing his show, after all he was the Heavy Metal- Dungeons & Dragons crossover performer that my peer grouped had been waiting for. Sadly Dio only performed a 45 minute show, his rendition of his greatest hits was done in a medley format. Metal and medleys do not mix.
The next weekend I took my girl to Lake George and I got her a ring, it wasn’t anything fancy and it was kinda green but I wanted her to know I meant business.
The day after our Lake George trip Tallulah stayed home to do homework and have dinner with her family, unfortunately that meant I had to have dinner with my family. However on this day the only people around were my Mom, my Stepdad and my brother Phil. As usual we had a lot to talk about.
And by that I meant argue.
“Wait a minute here,” I began, “you quit high school?”
“Yeah,” Phil said, “it was too much bullshit.”
I looked at my parents, “And you let him?”
My Mom nodded, “He’s big enough to make his own decisions.”
“The vice-principal had it out for him,” my Stepdad explained.
A plate of steamed beets was passed my way, I passed it on without sampling it. Good gravy I was a meat and potatoes guy back then. I hope you have no beef with that. I asked “But what about your future?”
“What about it?” he said, “I can get a job, a better job than you got I bet.”
As far as I was concerned this was a bad idea and I had to convince him, “Are you sure you want to take a gamble like that?”
My shock suddenly gave away to anger as I recalled a similar but different conversation this table had hosted years before. “So Phil, when do you move out?”
“Are you high?” My brother's voice was almost a growl, “What are you talking about?”
“Your Dad told me that if any of us quit high school we’d get kicked out of the house.”
My stepdad frowned at me, “I don’t remember saying that.”
“Well I do. In fact you kind of yelled it at me.”
It should be noted that since 1979 most of my conversations with my stepfather had involved yelling. Nowadays the thought saddens me. As a boy I had loved him... like a father when you get right down to it.
“We aren’t going to kick Phil out,” my stepfather said, “I can’t believe you even suggested it.”
“I didn’t suggest it!” I said stabbing my pork roast for emphasis.
My stepdad shook his head, “Your problem is you think you’re large and in charge.”
The plate of untouched steamed beets was making its second way around the table. My brother nearly dropped it, “You got the large part right!”
“Hey!” I shouted. An angry silence began to settle in over us but I headed it off with a combination of optimism and masochism. I cleared my throat and spoke calmly, “I have an announcement too.”
“You get another rejection slip?” Phil snickered with his mouth full.
“Wrong!” And that was the truth, I had gotten two.
My Mom silenced my brother with a gesture of her spoon, “What is it honey?”
“I asked...” I paused for dramatic effect, “I asked Tallulah to marry me.”
“Oh my God. You can’t be that stupid.” My stepfather went from glaring at the steamed beets to me and back again. Was he making a comparison?
Phil commented, “Sure he can.”
“What’s the problem?” I asked.
My Mom said, “You can’t want to get married already.”
“Sure I do.”
“Why?” My stepdad leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Because I love her,” I explained. “Besides you know what they say- ‘In for a penny out for a pound.’”
And I meant that. Tallulah and I had been doing some serious pounding lately.
The steamed beets reached my Mom again, signaling that is was her turn to speak. The damn thing was like the conch shell from LORD OF THE FLIES, “No offense Al but you are too immature to get married.”
“I am too mature!” I protested.
Maybe my tone was disrespectful because Phil suddenly said “You are not.”
“Am too!” I shot back.
His voice was becoming a shout, “Are not!”
Things pretty much went downhill from there. I stormed out of the house leaving my family and the steamed beets behind.