Christmas day was cold but clear, and we spent much of it outdoors, playing football and enjoying the fresh air. Indoors, we played with the kids and their new toys. I helped Lucy’s mom make the traditional dinner.
After dinner, we sat around a fire, telling stories until the kids went to bed. The adults stayed put, talking. I poured bourbons for Lucy and myself. She sat on a couch, between her siblings. I sat on the floor near the fire.
Lucy’s sister pulls out a pipe and some pot.
This is a family tradition: the smoking of the peace pipe. In years past, there was always some fight on Christmas night. Tonight, we wondered if Lucy’s mom would get into it with my ex father in law’s other ex, like it was thirty years ago, and she was still mad about their break up.
Lucy, her sister, and her sister’s fiancé are potheads. The rest of us are novices. Lucy has to show her brother and father how to operate the pipe. I know at least that much, but cough after trying to inhale.
Neil Young is playing in the background. The fire is stoked and very hot. A stoned debate breaks out on the physics of shortwave radios, a subject no one present understands. It’s very funny to see everyone offer revelations and insights.
I know that pot makes me stupid. I keep my mouth shut and tend to the fire. Lucy’s mom, drunk and stoned, pulls me in to a side conversation about how much she likes me, and how she misses me. Lucy motions for me to move away and sit near her—it’s just best not to go there, she whispers in my ear.
After everyone is gone, Lucy and I sit by the fire. I move to sit next to her.
“Making your move, huh?” she says.
“Just getting closer” I reply, putting an arm behind her. “So we can talk quietly.”
I have no idea what happens next. Are we going to retire to bed, together? To our separate rooms?
We have The Talk.
She brings it up. “What are we doing? It’s very confusing. “
“I know, it is very confusing. I’m not sure what’s happening, but I’m so glad we aren’t fighting. I’ve really missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too. But what are you doing? Why are you seducing me?”
“I’m seducing you? I thought . . .”
“Is this just sex, or do you want to get together again?”
This is heavy. “I think we should talk about this, but not now, not when we are stoned.”
“Is this just sex? Because if so, that’s okay. But do you want to get together again?”
“You would even contemplate getting together again?” I’m stunned.
“It would make everyone happy. It would make the kids happy. It’s what everyone wants.”
“Is it what you want?” I say. “Wait, I’m too stoned to have this conversation. I really can’t believe what you are saying.”
“I think its just sex for you.”
“I’m not sure, not at all. I mean, I don’t need to get into something with you just to get laid. I’m so happy to be connecting with you, to be talking without so much anger. But maybe this . . . this is so much.”
We look the fire. “I’m going to bed,” she said. “Good night.”
What just happened?
The next day, I pull her aside. I’m not sure where we were going last night, I say. But I want to revisit that conversation when we can really talk.
I think I have my answer, she says. I’m not looking forward to that conversation!
Yeah, but we need to talk. We can’t leave this dangling.
Okay, she says. You will call me, and we will talk.