So last year at about this time, when he announced he had met "The One" and he wanted to marry her, I was initially skeptical. He did, after all, have a tendency to fall a bit too hard, and it wouldn't have surprised me if she wasn't as serious as he was.
Then I met her. And hated her on the spot.
It was at a party. She obviously found all of our conversations boring and stared off into the middle distance, cig in one hand, cosmo in the other. I tried to draw her into the conversation by asking if she had a photo of her 5th grade son (previous marriage). My friend adored the kid and I wanted to see who I'd heard so much about. She seemed perplexed by my question and said "no." Now, really! What mom doesn't have at least one picture of her kid?
I chewed the inside of my mouth in frustration but murmured supportive things as a big, beautiful rock was purchased … as a proposal was meticulously planned and finally delivered in New York's Central Park … as a house was purchased in the far western suburbs … and as the three of them (my friend, his fiancee and her son) all moved in. I took cold comfort in the fact that at least a date hadn't been set yet.
This woman clearly was not as into my dear friend as he was in love with her, and wasn't it just making me nuts. All the concessions that needed to be made as they approached the altar were being made by him, and I didn't like that one bit.
The last week, just we three met for drinks. To be honest, if I'd known he had invited her, I would have tried to slip out of it. Now I'm so glad I didn't.
She wasn't bored by our conversation at the party, she simply didn't know how to jump in. She has no interest in sports, which we discuss a lot. Since English is her second language, a lot of slang goes right over her head. She not only likes my friend*, she loves her son. She just knew that neither I nor the other women at the party had kids and she didn't want to be one of "those moms" who bore people with photos and tales of their children. She's sounded genuinely, affectionately amazed by his growth spurt and how much food he can suddenly shove in during the space of a single day. It was nice to see this softer, warmer side of her.
I'm sooooooooo glad that she's not the too-cool ice queen I thought she was, after jumping to that first, unkind conclusion. (Shame on me.)
*Though I still don't know what they have in common beyond their affection for her boy. They really don't interact very much, and that concerns me. However, he is 35 now and I have to let him grow up sometime, huh?