The next day, which was Saturday, Alessandra woke up at 6:00 a.m. to go to the grocery store and buy all the ingredients for the meals that she would prepare: pasta, mac & cheese, pie, cupcakes, and of course, the turkey. Quincy was too asleep to notice his wife's absence, but then again, he hardly ever cared whether Alessandra was in the house or not. While Alessandra was out shopping, she made a brief encounter with a former friend. She was at the pasta section when she ran into Betty Jane Powell for the first time in what seemed like a million years.
"Allie, is that you?" Betty Jane exclaimed when she saw her long-lost friend since kindergarten, and pretty much, all throughout the high school years.
"Oh, B.J., it is you!" Alessandra exclaimed, she and Betty Jane giving each other a friendly embrace. "I can't believe it's been many years already."
"Well, technically, it's only been nearly thirty years......but who's counting?" Betty Jane said, as she and Alessandra chuckled and reunited for old times' sake. "So, how's life been going for you?"
"Would I be lying to you if I said it was Just Perfect?" Alessandra said with a grin.
"Yes. You know we can always tell each other anything, Allie. I can understand if you're now trapped in a crappy marriage. All George ever really shows a love for is TV shows and movies. Always too busy or tired to do it with me at night." She sighed. "Anyway, what's your story?"
"My goodness, I swear to God, Quincy is just like a living nightmare sometimes. I don't even know how I've done it for the past 20-something years! He's so full of himself, he contradicts me a lot when it comes to the children, and he thinks he's always right."
"Well, why don't you try divorcing him?" suggested Betty Jane.
"Really? You really think I should do that, Betty Jane?"
Betty Jane shrugged. "I mean, why not? It's not surprising that you and Quincy don't get along anymore. Everyone who went to our school knows. Even the neighbors, too."
Alessandra thought about it for a moment, then said, "Well, I suppose I should. But I'll wait until Thanksgiving is over so that I can go down to court and file a divorce. Now all I just have to worry about is where I'm going to spend Christmas."
"And New Year's Eve, and all that other junk," added Betty Jane.
"Anyway, are you Thanksgiving shopping too?" asked Alessandra.
"Hmm-hmm. Anything to get a break from the kids, really."
"I get you," said Alessandra with a chuckle. "So, uh, would you like to come over to my house today and help me set up for Thanksgiving? The kids are out doing their own little things, and Quincy's going to start criticizing me and my cooking, and I don't want Penelope to feel overwhelmed in doing so much. You know, I mean it as a grown-up girl bonding moment. So, what do you say, B.J.? Will you do it for me?"
"I am so in," Betty Jane replied.
After the shopping was done, Alessandra and Betty Jane began heading to the MacKenzies to work together with the Thanksgiving meal preparations and such. While that was going on, Alessandra started thinking really long and hard on Betty Jane's suggestion that she get a divorce from Quincy. She had never really thought so much about it over the years, and she had always said how much she really hated him and wanted to leave him, but for some reason, she could never imagine herself actually distancing herself from him, the kids, and Penelope. They were her life. They had been her entire life---for a little more than twenty years. And what a worse time to do it, too---during the holidays. Holidays were supposed to be the happiest family moments, but apparently not for the MacKenzies, though. She felt really trapped, just thinking about it.
Alessandra's mother, Alexandra, had always been quite protective of her, especially as a child---whomever she dated, wherever she went, whom she married---and now she knew, her mother did have a right to be protective. Alexandra Sampson was never too fond of Quincy MacKenzie initially, when they started going steady in high school, and at the time Alessandra thought her mother was simply being unfair and very protective. She had really liked Quincy---in fact, she loved him more than life itself. And now twenty years later, they were living in a tornado of bitterness and resentment. If she wanted a divorce, she could get one. And she could take the children with her too, if she wanted. She would have a much better chance of raising Zeke and Joanna by herself than doing it with Quincy, where he would teach them that violence is key to success. After all, Alessandra was determined enough to make her own decisions.
That evening, Alessandra and Betty Jane felt exhausted after all that hard work. Quincy was out of sight, out of mind somewhere. Zeke was up in his bedroom, starting his homework from yesterday, while Joanna was getting dolled up for the Christmas party. She was wearing that new black gown that Alessandra had bought her for her birthday earlier this year. Zeke then came into her room and said in a whisper, "Hey, are you going to sneak out?"
"Sneak out?" she said. "Are you kidding? Dennis is coming to pick me up anytime soon."
"Well, I finished doing my homework yesterday; I'm just staying up here only to avoid World War III down there," Zeke said.
"Yeah, I get you. Smart." Joanna patted him on the back. "Good luck trying to deal with World War III." They both chuckled.
Just then, the doorbell rang. Quincy was now in the living room, drinking wine and watching something on television, pretending as if he didn't hear anything. Penelope then went to the door and answered it. It was Dennis Viscenzio, Joanna's date. "Hello, young man," Penelope greeted him.
Alessandra came into the living room, and scolded Quincy, "You couldn't get up for one minute to open the damned door?"
"Penelope answered it, Allie," Quincy said, obviously a master of stating obvious things.
"Hello, Dennis." Alessandra shook his hand.
"Hi, Mrs. MacKenzie," Dennis said. "Is my lady ready?" He grinned.
"Joanna, your date is here!" Alessandra called.
"She'll be down in just a minute," Alessandra said to Dennis. "Uh, why don't you sit down, dear, and make yourself feel at home until she's ready."
"Thank you, ma'am," said Dennis. He was a well-mannered young man, something Quincy tried to take for granted.
"Would you like to have some beer, Dennis?" Quincy said to him, holding the bottle out to him.
"Uh, Dennis' peers don't usually drink," Alessandra said, trying to play Quincy's game.
"No, thank you, Mr. MacKenzie," replied Dennis.
Alessandra gave Quincy a knowing expression, and Quincy only replied back with a cynical glare. Just then, Joanna came down, looking gorgeous in the black gown and her hair styled exactly the way Penelope had done it yesterday. "Wow, you look amazing," Dennis said, awestruck.
"Oh, Dennis," Joanna giggled. "Now come on, let's go while the night's still young."
"Stay out as late as you can," Quincy said.
"Don't stay out too late, and call us whenever you are finished," Alessandra said.
Dennis and Joanna waved to them. "Good-bye, Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie, we'll see you later tonight," Dennis said. They got into his car, and Dennis began driving and said, "Your parents are acting a little funny tonight. And I don't mean amusing funny, of course." He grinned.
"They're always fighting, Dennis," Joanna said with a sigh. "I think you should know that."
"Yeah, I figured."
"I think she should just leave him already, because I do not want to spend my last Christmas before college engaged in a battle of World War III."
Dennis laughed. "I feel you. Hopefully, that's not us when we grow up someday."
"No, I hope not." She put her arms around him.
Alessandra and Quincy were now at each other's throats, in front of Penelope and Betty Jane---and Zeke, who was doing his very best to avoid it. Alessandra said to Betty Jane, talking about Quincy, "'Would you like to have some beer?' he says. I mean, who the fuck offers a seventeen-year-old a bottle of beer? Beer! What kind of example are we setting among the boy's parents by offering him an alcoholic beverage?!"
"Jesus, Allie, it was only a goddamned joke," Quincy snapped.
"Yeah, well, it wasn't a joke when you didn't hear the goddamned doorbell ring!"
"I do just as many things around the house other than answering the door for strangers, you know."
"Oh, yeah, like what?" scoffed Alessandra. "Betty Jane and I did most of the Thanksgiving meal preparations, and look how damned fatigued we are right now! What did you do? Oh, that's right---you planned Poker Night, that's what you did!"
"Allie's right," Betty Jane said to Quincy. "You don't just leave the women to do every single thing around the house all the time."
Quincy glared at her. "Where did you come from, and who asked you to get involved?"
"I'm Allie's friend since high school---you know me, moron. I have every right to have Allie's back because we're best friends, and that's what friends do."
"Friendship is a rare and wonderful thing," Penelope said in agreement.
Quincy was frustrated. "You know what, Allie? If you're really that frustrated with our relationship, then why don't you go out and get something called a DIVORCE?! You know what that is?"
"To hell with you, maybe I will!" she screamed at the top of her lungs, very furious.
That nearly shocked all four of them speechless---Betty Jane, Penelope, Alessandra and Quincy, and even Zeke, who was up in his room, reading comic books and pretending to ignore the feud. Those words really touched Zeke.
"What did you just say?" Quincy said to her in a lowered voice this time.
"You heard me, Quincy," she said, also in that equally lowered voice. "I'm tired of being hateful and bitter, I'm tired of making the kids and ourselves miserable; if you want out, then so do I. Once Thanksgiving is over, and that's final." And for the rest of that night, dinner time was silent. Well, actually, Alessandra decided to go over at her mother's house for dinner instead. She left Penelope in charge of making dinner for Zeke, and Quincy claimed that he wasn't hungry. Betty Jane wanted to leave so soon, so she hugged Alessandra good-bye, sent her her condolences, and made her way out. It was a miserable night for all of them.