"'Coffee Cake'. Humph. Well, at least it beats 'Lizard Breath'."
As far as Liz could see, the one really bad thing about Mtigwaki that wasn't the rather limited opportunities to shop or socialize was the fact that everyone seemed to in or part of everyone else's business. If she'd wanted a complete lack of privacy, she'd have moved home before her term was up. What really annoyed her was not just that Gary and Vivian seemed to see her relationship with Paul as being somehow a bad thing because of the cultural differences, they were obsessed with the favor Warren did her by flying her home. First, that wasn't really their business, second, she'd have plenty of time to meet his parents and third, they always looked at her as if she were playing tourist or something.
This sort of thinking came back to haunt her after she'd learned that Anthony needed a friend to lean on because that hypocritical witch he'd married cheated on him. Jesse thought she'd betrayed him, Gary and Vivian looked at her like she was some flighty whitey running around a movie set and Paul told her to listen to the words she'd used to explain why she had to go South. Were you to listen to them talk, you'd think that she was stupidly asking him to hold her hand while she slept-walked her way through life. Besides, she'd had to give testimony at Howard's trial. Funny thing, that. Dad thought that they were wasting a lot of time. According to him, it should have only taken about ten minutes or so. This led to a confusing comment about how life is too short to waste it thinking about things. What he'd said about the doubts she still had about how maybe Paul didn't actually appreciate being treated like (as Mike's bossy mother-in-law put it) a lapdog was "Make a decision, stick with it and don't let anything change your mind! Doesn't matter if it looks like you've made a fool of yourself 'cause if you back down, no one will respect you!" The odder thing still was that Mom said that Paul might not be right because he didn't drop everything to be with her was that she'd dismissed Mrs Enjo's speculation that Thérèse had post-partum depression out of hand; this was not only because she looked very uncomfortable about it, Mike's dragon of a mother-in-law made a nasty comment about Mom going straight from PPD to menopause without an intervening period of stability.
That being said, she'd never seen what Paul and Susan did coming despite everyone else hinting broadly that no, he wouldn't move South at her beck and call and yes, he would find a girl that wouldn't (as Ugly Brother Mike put it) play him like an X-Box. Destiny guided the two of them, they said. Who was guiding hers and to where? She needed to get home to think but all she could think about was how everyone was leaving her behind and how everyone loved how things were all going Mike's way. What she did not need was April's tragedy pleas about being shoved aside like Mom and Dad thought of her as if she were a piece of furniture that they didn't know what to do with and she really didn't need was the kid's pointless beefing about a harmonica. Sure, if Grandpa were still 'there', she might feel bad about making things up to Jesse the best way she knew how but the man's wife assured him that he had the mind of a child so, well, what was she supposed to do?
Having to worry about that would sort of spoil the happiness she and Anthony finally found together. If only his child could be happy for her too and not miss a woman who clearly wanted nothing to do with her. Also, if only Mike's awful mother-in-law hadn't made that awful remark about how Anthony had said "This is Daddy's new girlfriend's bottom: kiss it or Santa won't come" when she'd tried explaining things. Building a life and a home together, deciding to get married, planning the wedding too early because Jim could die at any time, it was all the same. Mira wanted to know what she saw in someone who was clearly a kindred spirit and, when she'd explained it, told her "Well, then, if that's the case, why don't your parents marry him and cut out the middleman?"
Well, she wasn't going to listen to her after she'd gotten Ugly Brother trapped in her family politics. Why else would he have dragged his family to some shrink so he could blame everything wrong in his life on Mom and Dad. It was annoying as having to have Therese come in and warn her that if she stepped out of line, Anthony and his dad would sic some lawyer on her to drag her name through the mud. She didn't believe that he did it to Therese nor would he do it to her. They were meant to be.
It was about when she'd learned that she was going to be a mother and have a real family that lawyers had entered her life anyway. That's because she'd gotten something from Grandman Marian. Might as well see what words of wisdom she was supposed to have imparted.
It was a very troubling letter, to say the least. The whole thing seemed to be Grandma's need to warn her to not make the horrible mistake Mom had made by doing what she only thought other people expected of her. She'd started by saying that the way Mom did housework was based on the superficial belief that what Gran did when she was pressed for time was How Things Worked and ended with her thinking that she was actually supposed to land "an insensitive, nerdy clod of a dentist" when they sent her to University. It seemed that the night before her wedding, Gran asked Mom point-blank why she was giving up on school that early when she should maybe wait; Mom said that she and Grandpa must have given up on her marrying at all or some such thing. If that was the case, Mom was stupid. An old maid? At twenty? Gran was kidding, right?
No. She wasn't. If anything, Marian Richards was embarrassingly honest. Almost hurtfully so. If Gran said that Mom had told her that Dad was her only hope at having the life she was supposed to have, that's what Mom told her. Okay, so. Mom panicked maybe. But that didn't mean that Dad was (as Gran put it) an insensitive, entitled dullard who was sickened by the idea of having to think about how other....people....DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!
"Too young to be sensitive", my ass!! Hell! At least she'd had the honesty to tell April to not make her feel bad! Well, at least Anthony wasn't like that and the video tapes of his therapy sessions with his first wife would...BOXCAR!!! She'd seen a Therese that she never wanted to admit existed: a frightened, depressed, miserable woman living in a town with people who hate her for wanting her husband to make more of himself than the lackey to a greasemonkey and said husband looking at her like she wasn't even human for showing a weakness that would require him to do something he didn't plan on.
That was the thing, though. She'd wanted to marry a man like Dad and, damn it, she'd blundered right into it. What could she do about it, though? Mike might be sympathetic to her plight, April was all "I'm sorry but I did warn you" and her friends were all about how she'd probably end up like Therese and having to pay him alimony if she'd left him.
About the only people who wanted her to stay the course were the idiot father who wanted someone he could dominate and a mother who had (as Gran and Phil put it) an allergy to being happy. Well, Mom had a lot of fun being miserable when Liz made her peace with her rival and they sued the Hell out of Anthony and his evil mouthpiece.
A couple of years later, she'd met up with Warren. He'd allowed as how Paul and Susan were doing well and how he himself was unattached and they took it from there. They might not have the one perfect autumn day that Mom and Dad said she couldn't build a life on but it was better than working towards stroking out within minutes of each other over their horrible, greasy casserole.