June 2008 Claudia, Primo's older stepdaughter, is getting married in August. We have been waiting for the invitation, but have not gotten anything yet. Odd.
I met Claudia for the first time that March. I wanted to hear all about the wedding but she seemed reluctant to talk about it. I couldn't figure it out. Finally, it hit me: Claudia is a lovely young woman. Well mannered, sweet. Probably because Primo did most of her raising.*
"Claudia," I said. "It would probably be uncomfortable for your mom [Bertha, Primo's ex] for me to be at your wedding,** so I certainly don't expect to be invited. But I love to talk about weddings, so please tell me what you have planned."
Ah. That was the key. She spilled, in her quiet, timid way. The wedding was to be at a winery. Primo loves wine. Lots of friends and family Primo hadn't seen in a while. Bertha's mother, who loooooves Primo, would be there.
So. We are waiting for the invitation. It hasn't arrived. "Call her," I urge. "Maybe it got lost." We know Claudia wants Primo there. A year ago, when she and Steve got engaged, she asked Primo to walk her down the aisle.
He calls. Comes downstairs.
"Bertha doesn't want me there."
"Bertha. She's mad at me. She told Claudia not to invite me."
This is the Bertha who got probably one of the most generous divorce settlements evah.***
Why is she mad at Primo?
Because Bertha, who married her first husband in a Catholic church, then got a divorce, then married Primo in a Presbyterian church without getting her first marriage annulled because she cared that much about being Catholic, saw that I had her marriage to Primo annulled. Which took about two weeks because 1. she married Primo without getting her first marriage annulled and 2. she married Primo in a Presbyterian church. So it wasn't even the hard kind of annulment, for those of you who know anything about annulments.****
Basically, her marriage to Primo was declared invalid in the Catholic Church, which was something that she obviously hadn't even cared about to begin with.
And she was mad about it.
And willing to punish her own daughter to get at Primo.
What a lady, huh?
The good news is that her little stunt kills Primo's lingering guilt about the divorce. May it rest in peace.
* More about all that later. Primo and I have just completed the negotiations about what I can talk about with respect to Bertha and Le Divorce. Not that there is any love lost with Bertha, but Claudia and Chloe are sweet and Bertha is their mother. You know.
** Primo and I met at our 20 year college reunion, a few years after he and Bertha split. I am not a homewrecker. But that doesn't mean Bertha wants to see me.
*** Rule 1 of divorce that we learned way too late: Get the baddest, meanest lawyer you can find. Do not have a mediated divorce.
**** They can drag on for years and go into every detail of your married life.