The Bulgarian Princess – Part 2
Continued from Part 1:
After the fake-marriage divorce was final six months later, my brother proposed. My father’s only comment was “Your brother in store for a lifetime of misery.” That would make a great greeting card, I thought. I must remember to pitch this to the Hallmark people. She asked my dad for $5,000 as an engagement gift. As we would find out during the next several years, gifts for anniversaries, birthdays, Christian and Jewish holidays, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Festivus, Mother’s Day, and even Arbor Day, involved cash, flashy jewelry or designer handbags per Bulgarian customs dating back thousands of years. Does she think we’re that stupid? said my dad, as he sat hunched over his desk writing another check.
On their wedding day, my mother fainted when the Bulgarian Princess marched down the aisle in a corseted dress with a skirt (and price tag) larger than the Louisiana Purchase. My mom came to with the aid of smelling salts just as my older sister showed up halfway through the homily, teetering down the aisle in stilettos, which hit the marble tiles with a clack clack clack that echoed as far back as the vestibule. She plopped herself down beside me in the pew and whispered, “I guess I got the time wrong,” her breath reeking of bourbon.
As far as we could tell, the Princess had not worked since she arrived in the states; she had met my brother while loitering outside the pharmaceutical lab where he worked. She was attracted to men in white coats like a lion to an innocent, unsuspecting gazelle that had stopped to take a sip from the watering hole. She once told me, “I am not a alone job girl like you, or how you say, career? My most greatest dream is to be mudder and marry American, how do you say, doocter?” Mudder I soon figured out was not a quaint term for a horse-stall mucker or archeologist; she became pregnant two months after the wedding and six days after my brother started medical school. Mudderhood was on the horizon, whether any of us liked it or not.
To be continued…