My mom’s best friend, who is an amazing gardener and cook, invited my mom and me to her house for dinner tonight. “Women only,” she told my mom. I have no idea why it was women only (well, except her husband, who is disabled and had to be there), but it was really the most awkward dinner party I’d ever walked into. We arrived at their house at around 6pm, and everyone else was already there — about eight other people. They were all sitting in chairs along the perimeter of the room, and no one was talking — no one. It was so quiet that I thought we were the first to arrive… until I realized I was walking into a room full of mutes.
These are all Jehovah’s Witnesses, and one of them is actually one of my best friend’s estranged cousins. Their family is divided because of how Jehovah’s Witnesses religion has infiltrated their family, so everyone is removed from each other. No one was talking. It was like everyone barely knew each other, or maybe they didn’t like each other. Either way, I have no idea what was wrong with them. They all had expressions of hesitation and borderline fear or intimidation on their faces. After about half an hour of extremely awkward small-talk, the room finally became more open and talkative when we started discussing Shake Shack, In N Out, and Five Guys burgers.
Clearly, food unites us all, even those of us who may belong to a cult. We even all left with freshly cut roses from her garden.