Sitting awkwardly at the dinner table, eating – coincidentally – dinner, the family of three attempted to break the thick bramble of their days that kept them apart. Junior had been on a date earlier that day. So for the moment, that was the topic of interest. Dad ate slowly with intention and did not pick at his food like Mom. Mom picked at her food because she was watching her figure. Why she did, Junior did not know. Dad could care less. Maybe it was to show off to her overweight friends that she retains some of that high school energy. Junior was the only child at that moment. Older Sister was off in some mystical place, probably dropping acid with her free love boyfriend. Or was it girlfriend? Junior did not know or care. “So, where did you take her?” Mom started.
“Well, everyone likes sandwiches, so I took her to Sicily’s and we got paninis,” replied Junior.
“Did you remember to pay?”
“Mom, I did everything you told me.”
“Well, that’s good. You’ll have to bring her home sometime so that we can meet her. I’d like to meet her, wouldn’t you dear?” Mom glanced at Dad. Dad snarfed on his food and shrugged, probably in approval. Work really took its toll on Dad. It made Junior sick that his dad would be paying for college, but he supposed that was how it worked these days. His Dad made good money, but Junior was never sure of their fiscal situation. Why was Dad working so hard, was it because their financial situation wasn’t as good as Junior previously thought? Was it because Dad didn’t know what to do with himself when he wasn’t working? That might be it but Junior couldn’t be sure. “What was she wearing?” Mom always asked banal awkward questions.
“Uhhh, a white dress.” Junior balked. It was actually jhorts and a button down but for some reason he lied. It was something that Junior sometimes couldn't help.
“Oh, well, that’s nice, isn’t it dear?” Mom turned to Dad. Dad nodded approval while munching on some meatloaf.
“Well, then Junior, what did you wear?” Mom turned back to Junior.
“Well,” now this was something that Junior could go on for forever. He had painstakingly planned out everything. Going to the internet to ask questions, putting himself out there, making himself to seem vulnerable, to see if any one could solve his conundrum. He scoured pictures on tumblr and read the past six months of GQ. He laid everything out the night before and changed everything before he went out. Junior just couldn't get it right. He wasn't sure he could replicate the 'cool' that he saw on the Internet. “I wore a dip-dye t-shirt, Incotex trousers, and hiking boots.”
“Now why did you wear that?” Mom smiled, confused as to why those things seemed to appropriate to Junior.
“Well, there’s these guys on the Internet who answer questions, and I well… asked them what I should wear.” Junior replied. Dad snorted and mumbled something through his food and under his breath. Junior shot Dad a glare reflexively, but then remember that you really can’t glare at Dad. Dad really didn’t give a crap about getting glared at.
“I asked a bunch of different guys and they all gave me different answers, so I just mixed all of them.”
“Oh, well I guess that makes a little more sense.” Mom replied, still mostly confused and muddled. Dad looked up and shrugged his shoulders. Dad thought about stepping in and correcting Junior’s mistakes, but then thought better of it. Junior would learn in due time.
They sat in quiet and each thought to themselves. Dad thought about the Age of Empires game that he would be playing later that night and reading the full RSS feed that he hid from his wife and kid. Mom thought about the possibility of dessert. Junior thought about what he would do differently next time he saw her. Probably not mix all the advice of the style bloggers. That may have been a bad call. But he’d probably still follow their advice when they told him what to wear. They were, after all, experts.