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Created by Diane Brown, Buena Beach is an online soap opera, giving up all the juicy details of some of the hottest guys and gals of Buena Beach, a small town in Southern California. Check back everyday for a new episode here on HelloBeautiful.com.

Cynthia

Calling things tense in my household these days would be a huge understatement. Even our dog, Panko, is suffering, not having been walked in a week. With my mom scheduled to arrive for lunch any minute now, I just hope the stress isn’t palpable. For my parents, I’ve created the illusion of a marriage as blissful and complete as theirs – only younger. I figure if I keep pumping things up, they’ll eventually come around and allow Mario into their home. Someday, perhaps dad may even take him out for golf or invite him over for poker. But I know we’re nowhere close to that right now.

Mario has just written them off as snobs, which is true, but it’s not that simple. The night of our rehearsal dinner, one of my father’s business associates claimed she knew Mario as the “scoundrel” who’d broken her daughter’s heart with his womanizing ways. The next day, mom then had the nerve to tell me just minutes before my walk down the aisle that my husband-to-be had been flirting with my cousin that morning at brunch. I was easily able to write off both accusations as last minute maneuvers on my parents’ part to keep hold of their only child. First off because I already knew about the “relationship” (two dates) Mario had with the Guerrero’s daughter, Angela. Mario told me all about how she’d been all bent out of shape over his disinterest in her to the point where she nearly started stalking him. Desperate move from a desperate girl. And the whole flirting with my cousin thing I laughed off immediately – she’s a troll! If anything, he probably just said something nice and complimentary to her and she took it to a whole other place (like Japan). I’ve finally decided that most folks in the world are haters – even family members – and you always have to watch your back.

So even now, two years later, my family still can’t bring themselves to say Mario’s name during conversations, let alone have a chat with him themselves. My mom knows better than to bring up any more allegations – she finally got the hint just before our first anniversary. They just don’t realize all the pressure he’s under at the office, so I allow him to play as much as he works. But that doesn’t mean he’s screwing up. He knows better.

I admit that I was rather disappointed that I missed yet another one of my parents’ famous Independence Day bashes this weekend, but I had to fake it, telling them that my husband and I had plans. If I’d known my weekend would be spent on the couch while Mario moped in our bedroom, refusing to eat or talk to me, I would’ve been at my folks’ first thing in the morning, ready to sip mojitos all day and have my fill of barbecue skewers. Mom will hear a different story from me, however. Something about us staying low-key and cozy at home. Best to keep things light and stick to speaking in code as we always do in order to make lunch jovial and proper.

“So, sweetheart,” she asks me a bit later, once the two of us settle in at the table for the lunch I prepared. “How’s your health? Have you been to the doctor lately?”

Mom code for: Hopefully, you’re still taking the pill and have been tested for HIV during the last six months.

“I’m good,” I tell her. “Dr. Green says I’m healthier now than she’s ever seen me.”

My code for: Yes, I had my annual pap smear and pelvic exam back in May, thank you very much. And, learning that I was STD-free, I decided to stop taking my pills a few weeks ago.

But mom’s decoder will hear: I’m lying. I never went to the doctor.

“That’s nice, honey. I need to get to the doctor myself – at my age, there are a lot more screenings I have to do.

Mom code: My birthday’s coming up – don’t forget.

Then she tells me, “This salad is very tasty. I’d get the recipe to make it at home, but you know how your father’s still watching his cholesterol.”

Mom code: Why the heck did you serve me a salad with creamy dressing, cheese, and bacon? You know how I feel about fat.

“Oh, yes. That’s right.”

My code: Sure doesn’t look like he’s watching his cholesterol.

We go on a bit more with the usual pleasantries of these lunches – her dropping subtle jabs at my weight, our apartment décor, my decision to work at the Café. And then she drops her favorite line.

“Well, hopefully you’ll be able to spend the holidays with us this year,” she says, sipping her last bit of wine – code for: You are going to leave that bastard soon, aren’t you?

I shrug, wiping the corners of my mouth with a red-checkered napkin. “Mother, will you excuse me for a minute?”

I run to the bathroom, barely making it to the toilet before expelling every last bit of my lunch – from the crusty bread to the balsamic glazed chicken. As disgusting as it all is floating on the water, I’m just happy I didn’t get to dessert yet, a triple-decker strawberry shortcake, which definitely wouldn’t be pretty in reverse. And then, as I sit on the cold tile, about to cry as I always do after puking (the whole ordeal is very traumatic to me), I realize what this is…and smile. And then let out a little squeal.

This is it. This is finally it. This is the key to getting everything back on track. My marriage. Our relationship with my folks. My trust fund.

I practically skip down the hall to rejoin my mother who, despite her loathing of fats, has helped herself to a rather large slice of my cake. “Everything alright, dear?”

Mom code: You didn’t just throw-up, did you?

“Sure, mom. Everything is just fine.”

My code: You bet I just threw-up. And if you’re worried about my weight now, get ready because I’m gonna be a cow in a few months.

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