In order to protect the innocent any names mentioned in this story I changed.
One night my x-husband mentioned that his younger, unmarried brother found out he had varicose veins. I told my husband I felt bad for him that it is a very painful thing to have. I developed a varicose vein in the back of one of my legs while pregnant with my son and knew how much it could hurt at times.
Later, probably months, we attended a family gathering for someone’s birthday at my in-laws’ house.
As families do, after dinner we were all chatting and talking about one thing or another. My brother-in-law was sitting on the couch with his girlfriend while she was gently massaging his back.
I said to my brother-in-law, “It was very nice to have Maria massage your varicose veins too when they are giving you a lot of pain.” The room stood still. No one spoke. Gasps of shock were the only noises heard at first.
My mother in law gave me a look that could have killed.
My brother-in-law was staring at me with the most unusual expression, one of surprise and a smile he was desperately trying to hold back.
I was bewildered by the reaction of everyone in the room. No one spoke for the longest time. It seemed like hours although I’m sure it was only moments that went by.
As we drove home that night, with my son sound asleep in the back seat, I was enjoying the quiet of the evening and the ride home. Suddenly, my x-husband broke out into uproarious laughter; his head was bouncing off the steering wheel. My quiet reverie broke by my x-husbands’ laughter and I asked him to please watch where he was driving and what was so damn funny. He was laughing so hard tears were running down his face.
He said to me, “You didn’t know did you”? I said to him, “What do you mean, what didn’t I know?”
My x-husband had to pull the car off the road because he could not stop laughing so hard. Then he told me, “I forgot to tell you that my brother’s varicose veins are in his testicles.”
I had never asked “where” his varicose veins were. I just assumed they were in his legs. At first I felt angry he never told me where the varicose veins were.
But after my shock, I too started to laugh so hard I thought I’d bust my gut. It all made sense why the room full of my in-laws and my brother-in-law never said a word and the room stood eerily still. What a dunce I had made of myself.
When we got home, the phone was ringing and my brother-in-law was on the line in hysterical laughter as was my x-husband. He told me he could barely hold back his own laughter after I said what I did knowing full well I had no idea where those varicose veins were.
And here I said to him surrounded by my devoted and strict Catholic in-laws, how nice for Maria to massage your varicose veins. I could hardly believe I had done it again, made such a blunder. I thought about the images that must have gone through my in laws heads as I blithely and innocently mentioned that massage for his varicose veins.