She was a small town girl whose father and mother were first generation Americans. She was raised in a tiny town in Idaho where Daddy worked at the brickyard and Mama stayed home tending to children. But now, she (my mother) was the “boss” and her firm yet impartial demeanor had gotten her far and proved to be an example of what was expected in our household.
Headlights cast a dim glow on the staircase that lead to the kitchen and mom’s heels could be heard as the car door shut. Excitement paired with nerves took hold as I braced myself to face her. She had been my mentor and best friend and never failed when advice and comfort were required. But this was somehow different and I knew that mother would be surveying him with a most forbidding inspection, leaving nothing undiscovered.
Keys jangled in the lock and a frozen stance was held in place upon her entry. He smiled and graciously stood before her, an unassuming and yet confident young man. She shook his hand and then excused herself to change into more suitable clothing for a relaxing evening at home. His level of respect drew me closer and it was clear he knew how important family life was to me and it seemed he shared the same values.
We situated ourselves in the living room on the top floor just outside her bedroom door. Large white couches, end tables and side chairs had been carefully placed throughout the oddly shaped room. The ceiling slanted until it reached a point that ended in a large skylight jutting out into a triangular shape. A fireplace was the focal point of this space and was finished in white lava rock and a marble ledge.
He crossed his legs and kept a fair distance between us, only acknowledging me when he was spoken to. A curious lack of physical affection was eventually chalked up to his culture and a desire to be considerate in front of my parents. It was as if he fit in to any and all situations and easily molded himself into the perfect and appropriate companion. This quality was especially admirable to an animated, gum chomping girl who felt she was somehow overly chatty, and at times inadvertently too flashy.