Brendan and I went to Miami to celebrate my birthday and the end of summer. Brendan loves Miami for some reason and I realized that I really don’t enjoy Miami. Our accommodations were lovely (a high rise condo in Brickell) and we ate a ton of amazing sushi, but the vibes were completely off. Is it me or is everyone in Miami very fucking weird? Their faces are all blown up with fillers and they vape at dinner and don’t even attempt to recycle. One night we were sitting at a restaurant bar, drinking espresso martinis and people watching. And even though the bar was full, the bartender girl (whose boobs were in danger of falling out of the bottom of her crop top), only wanted to talk to us. It’s not like we were being extra talkative or fun or anything so why us? She wanted to know where we’re from and where we went for dinner and to know if we needed recommendations for where to go later after the bar? She was going to a lounge a few blocks away that plays hip hop music, she let us know multiple times, and it’s like, girlfriend, the only thing I’m doing later is going upstairs to love all over my man.
Another night we stayed in, opting not to go out after dinner (probably because of how much I complained about everything and everyone the night before). It was perfect: sitting on the balcony with good wine and my boyf, breathing in fresh air and not blueberry and cotton candy flavored smoke!
And I guess it was a bit too perfect so I brought up his ex-wife because I know they used to go to Florida/Miami together a lot. I don’t think I’ll ever get over Brendan taking me places he used to go with his ex. He told me how her family has a house in Boca or something and it was an easy go-to. He was telling me about how they’d spend a ton of time on all the boats and jet-skis and blah blah blah.
“How fascinating!” I said. “So what happened at the wedding? You said she was in a bad mood, what does that mean?”
Brendan said, “Is that really what you wanna talk about?”
“Yes. Why do you always get so cagey about your ex? I think it’s weird,” I said.
“I don’t know. I think I still have some guilt about the end of our relationship.”
“Why would you feel guilty? Isn’t she the one who cheated on you?” I pointed out.
Brendan said, “And I care about her and respect her enough not to talk about that kinda stuff, you know?”
Really? She cheated on him and fucked him up emotionally but he still cares about her? I felt myself getting worked up and I took a sip of wine.
“I hope that’s okay. I just think it’s best if we don’t get into the details,” he went on.
Was it okay? I don’t know, but it didn’t seem like I had much of a choice. When I talked to Kristina about it later, she suggested that maybe he’s not allowed to talk about it. His ex and her family probably don’t want everyone knowing about her indiscretions. They’re apparently so rich, maybe they paid for him to keep his mouth shut. I don’t know.
So that was Miami. I hated it.
After I got over my uneasiness about his ex, Brendan and I had an amazing few weeks. He was spending a lot of time at my place with me and Winnie and I was thoroughly enjoying playing house. And maybe Brendan was too because one night he came up behind me and put his hands on my stomach like we were having a maternity shoot or something.
“Stop,” I said, pushing him off.
And even though I was laughing, it’s like, no literally stop, don’t even joke like that.
One day at the end of September, Brendan called me randomly in the middle of the afternoon to tell me that his mother was in New York. This was around the time that big hurricane hit Florida so she had to evacuate and was spending some time in the city. Brendan never talks about his mom (except that one time he shared the wild story of her pulling a knife on his dad) and as far as I knew, they don’t have much of a relationship.
“Oh,” I said once he shared the news. “Is that a good or bad thing?”
“I don’t know,” Brendan said back. “I just haven’t seen her in so long. I had no idea she was coming.”
“Like how long?” I asked.
“I haven’t seen her since my high school graduation…so like 15 years, I guess?”
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed. I know I don’t see my parents as often as I should, but 15 years?? (God, we’re old) In my head, I started calculating just how much time that was. He had gone through two other graduations since then, not to mention gotten married and probably a ton of other important life events. And it’s not like she lives on another continent — she lives in Florida! No wonder Brendan sounded so weirded out.
“I know. It’s super weird. We’re all supposed to go to dinner later and I’m not sure if I want to go,” Brendan said.
I had a ton of questions, mainly why hadn’t he seen his mother in 15 years — was it a conscious decision? If so, on whose part? As a parent, I can’t imagine not seeing my kid for that amount of time. It’s like, half of his life almost! But Brendan didn’t need me interrogating him, he just needed my support.
So I was like, “You should definitely go. It’s been so long! It’ll be nice to see her and catch up!”
“Yeah, you’re right. I’ll go,” he said, not sounding completely convinced.
I made him come over after dinner to tell me all about it. It went a lot better than expected, he said, and I was right (duh) — it was nice to see her and catch up. He explained a bit about why they stopped communicating: at first it was because he was a kid and felt abandoned when his parents split up and his mom moved away. But after a while, his mom just stopped reaching out. I’m not in any position to judge anyone obviously, but yikes.
“I hate that,” I couldn’t help saying.
“I know, but it’s cool. I think she’s trying to make up for lost time now so that’s good,” Brendan said.
“She’s aware that the lost time is her fault, right?” I said.
“It’s not just her fault, it was definitely both of us.”
And it’s like, how could it be his fault? He was a literal child. But it was not my battle to fight. Brendan is way more understanding and forgiving than I am. I was still icing my own mother out for how she behaved during my birthday. We both can’t have mommy issues.
Brendan and I didn’t see each other for a few days and then that weekend, he invited me to a late lunch with his sister and his mom. Oh? They must’ve really been hitting it off! I was like let’s do it then, I was totally down to meet her. I walked in thinking, “This lady should probably thank me since I talked Brendan into repairing his relationship with her.” I went in all confident, thinking I was going to be the queen of lunch.
It started off really nicely. Brendan’s mom called me “beautiful” and hugged me which is a stark contrast from my own mom telling me that I needed to put on my makeup and get my hair done. Granted, I had actually put on a bit of makeup and gotten highlights by then.
“He won’t stop talking about you so I figured I may as well meet you!” Brendan’s mom said. Somehow, she was exactly what I expected. Sporty and pretty with thin Florida eyebrows and shiny skin that has gotten way too much sun.
“Oh,” I said, feeling like it wasn’t exactly a compliment.
Danielle was short as usual, but I wasn’t even worried about her because I feel like that relationship is beyond repair and the ship has sailed.
We all sat down and the girls were fussy about everything; the placement of the table, the QR code menu, the temperature of the sparkling water, etc. And even though it was annoying, I thought it was kind of cute how similar they are. They’d bonded over being high maintenance!
We mostly small-talked while we waited for the food with a few what I thought were innocent questions sprinkled in here and there.
“I heard you have a baby. How old is she?” Brendan’s mom, Tracey asked.
“She’s almost three,” I said and told them stories about my silly, crazy child. Even Danielle cracked a little giggle when I told them about Winnie’s new favorite move — gasping and clutching her chest at every minor inconvenience, which gets Brendan every time.
“I always think something bad happened,” he piped up.
“In her world, it did,” I said.
“Where’s her dad? Were you married?” Tracey asked.
I thought it was a bit of a personal question, but my mom is nosy too so I get it.
“Oh, no. We were never married. He lives in Connecticut. Winnie spends most weekends with him,” I said.
Tracey said something like, “Good thing you didn’t waste your time getting married,” and I was like, “I know right!”
We went on talking about Winnie a little bit more and then we started talking about work and I did what I do best: gossip about others.
“No one can be scandalized by me and Brendan anymore when Mike and Paige are clearly hooking up,” I said.
“I really don’t think they’re hooking up,” Brendan said.
Tracey then began asking about Brendan’s company and asking if he still enjoys it (questions I never thought of asking and I learned that he only thinks “it’s okay”) while subtly getting the timeline of when we started dating. I didn’t realize what she was doing until after the food came out — she and Danielle both sent meals back and it had to be re-delivered, I was mortified — and then she said, “So you two got together fast.”
“That’s what I thought too,” Danielle chimed in.
It’s like, excuse me girl, you suddenly know how to speak?
“I don’t think it was that fast,” I said. I’m not even sure how they came to that conclusion based on anything we told her — especially considering Brendan and I were friends for years before anything happened.
“I mean so fast, Brendan, you’re probably wondering if that baby is yours!” Tracey said and started scream-laughing. Danielle started cracking up and Brendan and I stared at them, horrified.
“Uh, no,” he said.
“She looks exactly like her dad — who is not Brendan,” I said, getting defensive.
Tracey took a moment to settle down and then noticed we didn’t find her little comment funny. “I’m only joking.”
“I thought it was fast because Reagan was going to invite you to Napa, but you were already dating her,” Danielle said.
“Her” has a name.
Tracey leaned toward Danielle and whispered, “Oh, I just love Reagan.”
Reagan is Brendan’s ex-wife, if you hadn’t caught on. And it’s like, you’ve been gone for 15 years lady, do you even know Reagan?
“I do too,” Danielle said.
“We weren’t together then,” Brendan said.
“But wasn’t she at Dad’s birthday?”
Okay, I’m not sure exactly what they were talking about (Reagan wanted to invite Brendan on a trip across the country????), but Brendan’s dad’s birthday dinner was hardly when we started dating. Yeah, we might have gotten drunk and made out, but I was definitely still hooking up with Brady after that. The dad’s birthday dinner was in the summer and Brendan and I got together in the fall.
“All I know is, I had to see a psychiatrist before I could start dating after my divorce,” Tracey said.
“That’s not a bad idea,” I mumbled.
“I really don’t like this salad,” Tracey said.
“I don’t like mine either,” Danielle agreed.
I turned to Brendan. “I can’t.”
“Can’t what?” he asked.
I nodded toward the little trolls across the table. “It’s completely rude. Like Winnie could be your baby?”
“I’m pretty sure she was joking,” Danielle said though I was not talking to her. It’s not like I was really trying to whisper, but still.
“Yeah, that wasn’t cool,” Brendan said, agreeing with me.
“Well, I’m sorry,” Tracey said. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. It was a silly joke.”
“It’s fine,” I said.
It was not fine.
Needless to say, there was a bit of tension in the air the rest of lunch. I didn’t know if I was more mad at Tracey, Danielle or myself. And honestly, I was embarrassed. Here I was thinking I was going to waltz in there and have Brendan’s mom fawning all over me and instead she made it clear she was judging our relationship, like just about everyone else. And her opinion shouldn’t have mattered (15 years, remember?) but I was totally feeling some type of way.
Once we finished lunch Tracey invited us all to visit her in Florida and said, “I’m sure Brendan told you that I just got a place on the water!”
I wanted to be like, “Nope, the only thing we’ve talked about is his trauma after you abandoned the family.” Or maybe Reagan wanted to go visit her in Florida. She jUsT lOvEs ReAgAn. Then she gave me her business card because she sells essential oils in an MLM. No fucking thx.
Brendan and I had plans of walking a few blocks to meet Kendall and a new girl he was dating (not the hottie 25 year old to my disappointment) for drinks. Brendan invited Danelle to tag along and she declined, thank God.
“My girllll!” Kendall said, hugging me.
“Oh, I’ve had a day!” I said dramatically.
I hadn’t seen him a while at that point and I was dying to gossip with him about Brendan’s mom, Danielle and Reagan. But it, of course, wasn’t the time or place. I conducted myself like normal all night (well, as normal as a girl like me can be in a craft brewery).
“You okay?” Brendan asked at one point.
“Yeah, but this beer tastes like sperm,” I said with a smile.
“Okay,” he said with an awkward Chrissy Teigen face.
We stayed out until about midnight then headed back to Brendan’s. Then we proceeded to stay up all night having marathon sex. Brendan’s alarm went off early in the morning because he’d finally talked me into going to a rowing class with him. He got out of bed to shower and I laid there like a cadaver until he got out.
“You’re so cute,” Brendan said, getting back in the bed to snuggle with me. I continued just laying there and he was like, “You okay?”
“No,” I said.
He pulled away so he could look at me. “What’s wrong?”
I’d been thinking about it all night so I just blurted out, “Should we cool things off for a while?”
I continued on. “I feel like it’s probably too much too soon.”
“Do you think so?” Brendan asked.
“Yeah. I mean, everyone keeps saying it — your mom, Margot. And honestly, that’s why I didn’t want you to meet my parents a few weeks ago because I knew they’d say the same exact thing.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize you didn’t want me to meet them.”
I continued on. “And don’t you think it’s weird that just last year you were married to someone else — who as of January 17th, you still thought was the love of your life — and now you say that same shit to me!” I was tempted to tell him about my mom’s second wife comment, but figured it was unnecessarily cruel.
Brendan pulled away from you and sat back on the bed. He looked cute in his head to toe Lululemon. “Yeah, I get it. It’s weird.”
“So you think it’s too fast? Because of what my mom said? If I would’ve known what my mom was gonna say, I would’ve never suggested lunch,” Brendan said.
“It’s not just about your mom. It’s about everything,” I said.
He watched me while I finally got my ass up and began to get dressed. “So what do you want, space?”
“Yeah, I think so.” I wasn’t sure what I wanted, obviously.
“I’m kinda confused right now. I don’t really know what to say except I’m in love with you.”
“I mean, literally same Brendan, but that’s the problem. It’s freaking me out.”
“Uh, ooookay,” Brendan continued watching while I gathered my things to leave and then finally said, “Are you leaving right now? Do you want me to call you a car?”
“No, I can walk!” I snapped at him, irrationally angry that he didn’t talk me off the cliff.
I think between my mom’s visit, all of Margot’s various comments, Brendan refusing to talk about his ex-wife (but admitting he cares about her/what was this Napa thing??) and then his mom showing up out of nowhere, I was feeling insecure about our relationship. And it seemed like he was just letting me feel that way. He didn’t do anything wrong necessarily, but he wasn’t exactly helping either (letting Margot talk shit about us and then grabbing my stomach like he wants a baby!!). So yeah, I needed space to think. I left him there confused and walked home looking like sex and last night, but at least I got out of that rowing class.
**I’ll be back super soon to continue, I have sooo much more to say! Love you all!!**