Dry martinis in the plainly tiled kitchen of a post-war home nestled in the early suburbs of Long Beach.
"Olives, dear?" Mr. Laupin would ask in form of tender mercy.
"Oh, certainly," Mrs. Laupin would reply as she waited for the punchline.
"Well, then," Mr. Laupin would quickly cut in, using his best bad impression of William Powell. "One for me, two for you, and one for little Nicky, Jr., too."
Rinse and repeat through seven dreary months of tension, living with the former Mr. Laupin's mother and a deadbeat car salesman. The former Mr. and Mrs. Laupin floated mindlessly through this period, as the in-laws hurtled toward the dark abyss of deception and infidelity.
"No, dear. But you go ahead."
"All right then. One for me. And one for Little Nicky, Jr, too."
In the years since, the former Mr. and Mr. Laupin moved on, returning to Dallas - the site of their bluntly ruffled courtship.
The olives were shoved to back of the refrigerator, while the garage filled with tools, and their new home glowed with color and trim and punchy decor. And somewhere in these vapors, they said goodbye.
Months later, they received the news themselves in the form of a frank, though confusing discussion.
"I don't remember the taste of gin. Much less the olives we loved so well."
"Did we ever love the olives? Or did we love the drinks and the funny accents? And the part where we knew something no one else did?"
"The thing we knew was good, as were the drinks and funny accents. Oh, and don't forget the grab ass - that was always a hit. And truthfully, Nicky has always loved the olives."
"But don't we agree? Tending the tree has become a bit of a chore?"
"Then shall we each take a branch, and go our separate ways?"
And so it was for the former Mr. and Mrs. Laupin, greeting their thirties with the same irreverence that once served olives one, and two, and one.
What they lost in the vapors is more difficult to understand. Our lack of understanding means one of three things:
- Insufficient cognitive abilities
Having ruled out cognitive deficiency, we're left with God or magic.
At Christmas, the former Mr. Laupin's mother received a love potion in a bottle from a friend at work. She's been wearing it since the middle of last week in hopes of supporting her recent venture into online dating. She says it's for fun.
In one week, this magic has overseen separate phone calls from two ex-husbands, two first dates classified as "great," and a flirty call from an aging fling (circa. 1986).
This evidence, along with James Cameron's recent discovery of Jesus' tomb, throws the cosmic tumblers heavily in favor of magic as the driving force in these recent events.
Regardless, I pray the former Mr. Laupin's mother does not open the vile around her neck, or wield it too heavily.
Things we don't understand are common to life. A postmodern Pandora's box is frightening.
Especially when the cost is good friends like the former Mr. and Mrs. Laupin.