It’s a Test

Lauren’s parents live in the Boston area. On the night the young man and Lauren got engaged, they went to Granny’s house to call their parents. They had known each other for more than two years since they had served as missionaries together; she had come to his house at Thanksgiving, but he had never met or even talked to her parents.

When the young man finally got his father-in-law-to-be on the phone, the older man said, “Hello, Gordon! I’m Leon Elliott!” in a pronounced Georgetown, MA, accent. The young man stammered, “Nice to meet you, I’m Gordon Laws. I guess Lauren told you . . .” His father-in-law interrupted him to say, “Listen, Gordon, you don’t have to ask me anything. You’re the one who has to live with her.” They both laughed.

Now, they are loading luggage into the back of Leon’s Ford Expedition at the departures area of the airport. This trip to Boston is for them to meet in person for the first time. And yes, they are at the departures area.

“My dad has all these airport pickup rules,” Lauren had told him. “He thinks the traffic is way better at departures. So we have to get our bags and then go upstairs.”

He shakes hands with the man for the first time, and his future mother-in-law, Marti, hugs him. It’s March, and it’s snowing lightly; the sidewalks are wet with patches of slush and snow. It’s far colder and more humid than Utah air when it snows.

They both get into the Expedition to start the ride to Lauren’s house in Belmont, MA.

“How was the flight?” Marti says, as Leon eases from the airport road to an exit ramp to the highway.

“Not bad,” says Lauren. “We could both use a nap. We didn’t get a lot of sleep on the flight.”

“That’s fine,” says Marti. “We’ve got the guest room made up for Gordon.”

The young man is holding Lauren’s hand and looking out the window at the snow, the heavy traffic, and the buildings. Aside from the airport, everything is built with wood and seems aged–far older than anything in Texas or Utah. From the corner of his eye, he sees a car from the middle lane veer into their lane and cut them off to get on the same ramp.

“Are you all hungry?” Marti says.

“I could eat,” the young man says.

Suddenly, the Expedition veers out of the right lane into the middle lane. Leon leans hard on the gas.

“Leon! What are you doing?” Marti exclaims. “This is our exit!”

“I know it’s our exit!” he says.

“You’re gonna miss it!”

“I’m not gonna miss it.”

“You’re driving like a maniac!” Marti says. “What are you doing?”

They are pulling ahead of the car that cut them off.

The young man laughs. “That guy in front of us cut us off,” he says. “And now, Dad is going to cut him off. To get back at him.”

“Is that what you’re doing?” Marti says. “This isn’t worth dying over!”

Leon veers right, cuts off the car, and is now back on the ramp as the car behind honks. “Same to you, pal,” he mutters.

“What on earth was that?” says Marti. “Are you showing off for Gordon or something?”

The young man laughs. “I’m good with it. I’ve done worse.”

Lauren squeezes his hand. “It’s a test.”

“A test?” he says.

“Yeah,” she says. “I was dating this guy a little bit before the mission. My dad drove him somewhere, and he drove like a maniac and the guy couldn’t handle it. He was so scared. And my dad didn’t like him after that.”

“Huh,” says the young man. “Well, I hope I passed. I know what he was doing, and I can’t say I haven’t done anything like it.”

The rest of the ride is smooth.

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