A Story – part 41

Anthea and Philip flew off to visit his family. His brother and wife still lived in the family home, his mother in an apartment about 5 minutes walk away. His sister and her husband also lived in an apartment about the same distance but further from his brother.

Philip and Anthea stayed with his brother and family. On the first evening there was a large family dinner with all of them and the parents in law to meet Anthea.  She was a little bewildered by the many faces and people, trying hard to remember who was married to whom.

Philip came in for much teasing about how long it had taken him to find a good wife.  The women gathered together in the kitchen after dinner, tidying and chatting.  They asked about her home making skills and when she rather ruefully admitted she had spent her youth partying, then studying and working, they all seemed surprised.  Thereafter each of them spent time teaching her how to make one of the traditional dishes.

Philip was out doing things with his boyhood friends, all of whom came in to meet her and talk briefly before the men went off to do whatever it was they were doing.

On the third day Philip and Anthea went for a long drive to see the city surrounds, and admire the nearby mountains.  They had an argument over his abandoning her to his family while he went off.  He said it was just that he hadn’t seen these friends for so long.  He promised that he’d now seen them all. They ended up parking off a quiet road and making up in their usual way.

Again on their last evening there was a big family dinner. The teasing went on, this time including Anthea as now they seemed to feel they knew her. She felt bewildered, as she had no real feeling of identity and commonality with these people.  No animosity, just a feeling of detachment.

She rationalised it by reminding herself that Philip had chosen a career that took him far away from his family, so maybe he felt somewhat the same about them. That would explain his possessiveness, if he felt that only she and he would make up their family.  But she felt very close to her own family, and wouldn’t want to be parted from them for long periods of time.

His mother took her aside after supper and told her that she was so relieved that her son had finally found such a lovely woman to be his wife, and that she hoped Anthea would look at her as her mother, for guidance and help.

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