*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
My mother and I used to attend Weight Watchers meetings religiously. Of course, now they are known simply as WW, and we've stopped attending; those two things are not related.
Ideally, going to a WW meeting meant not being disturbed because we wanted to pay attention to the leader of the meeting and hear everything she had to say. We weren't there for camaraderie or gossip. We wanted to learn about "sensible" weight loss.
When it comes to weight, we are not sensible people. We needed all the help we could get.
One day, my mother and I were sitting in the back of the meeting space, just minding our business, when a woman rushed at us out of the blue. The woman was an old acquaintance of my mother and a former close friend of my aunt.
The woman told my mother she was throwing an anniversary party for herself and her husband and she wanted my aunt to attend. She hadn't seen my aunt in ages.
Well, my mother hadn't seen my aunt in ages either. It wasn't that they had fought; they'd just grown apart and gone their separate ways. Nonetheless, she couldn't really help the woman reconnect.
My mother was frustrated with the intrusion, as she told me later:
My head was spinning. I was trying to listen to my diet guru, but I also had to listen to this woman. She wouldn't stop talking about her anniversary party and how she had married the love of her life. Good for her, but couldn't she have waited until after the meeting to tell me about it? She just carried on about how the years had flown by, which, of course, they had. This just wasn't the time to talk about it.
She went on and on about how she met her husband through our family because he was friends with my brother. Actually, at the time, he was my brother's best friend. I felt like I was on This Is Your Life instead of a Weight Watchers meeting. She would not relent. I excused myself and went to the bathroom, but I really didn't have to go... I just wanted to get away from her.
After my mother locked herself in the bathroom, I continued to stare straight ahead at the woman running the meeting. My extreme social anxiety did not want me to have a conversation with my mother's old acquaintance, so I did my best to pretend she wasn't there while I waited for my mother to return.
I guess my mother took too long to come back because I saw the woman get up from her seat, make a beeline to the bathroom door behind which my mother had disappeared, and start knocking.
"Are you all right?" the woman yelled. She was loud enough for me to hear halfway across the room.
"Yes," my mother replied through the closed door. When she opened the door and exited the bathroom, her old acquaintance was standing nose-to-nose with her.
The woman explained that she would love to have my aunt's address to send her an invitation to her anniversary party. It was information that was readily available online, but I guess she didn't realize she wanted my aunt's address until she inadvertently ran into my mother at a Weight Watcher meeting.
After an awkward exchange during which time my mom never gave away any contact information for Auntie, the woman went on her way. My mom rolled her eyes at me after it all ended; it wasn't exactly how we had hoped our meeting would go that day.
Before she left, the woman told my mother it was nice seeing her and that she'd catch her at the next meeting, or maybe at the anniversary party. My mother attended neither.
"I could have said as much in seven words," my mother told me later. "All she had to do was ask for your aunt's address in the first place, and I would have told her I didn't know it."
What would you have done? Comments are welcome.
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