It was Idgie's misfortune to hiccup as she stumbled through the door. Or maybe it was her laugh, the one that crept out when she'd been drinking a little too much. One or the other caught her off guard, making her fall to the floor. Drunkenly she lifted her legs like a dead roach, and then opened her eyes to see what roaches see when they're sprawled on their backs. In this case, the roach would have seen a gigantic woman standing over it, her arms crossed.
"And just where have you been?" Ruth said, although she knew better than to ask. There was only one place Idgie went to drink and it was the one place Ruth hated her to go. She hated to lie in bed, knowing Idgie may be laying down that same moment with Eva Bates. She hated the creaks the house made without her, and rushing downstairs at every sound to see if Idgie'd finally returned. She hated thinking Idgie wanted to have fun without her, when Idgie made her life worth living. It broke her heart.
"Over the river and through the woods…" Idgie sang with a giggle and a snort. She threw one arm over to help heave her body off the ground, but collapsed. The jerky movement was too much for her stomach and she grew nauseous, clinging to her stomach in pain. Idgie had drank more tonight than she had ever drank in her life, evident by the stars she started to see in front of her eyes. Unbeknownst to Ruth, tonight had been hard in ways she could not have understood.
"Out at the river club again?" Ruth said as she walked to the kitchen. She tried to sound angry but she had been so relieved to see Idgie that she wanted to make her feel better so they could spend more time together. She ran a wash cloth under the faucet and wrung it out, then laid it on Idgie's neck to cool her down. Idgie was pitiful, laying there in agony even as she laughed still. "I swear, I take care of a baby in the morning, and a baby at night."
"I ain't no baby, I can take care of my damned self." Empty words, she needed Ruth more than anything.
"Next you'll tell me the ducks have flown back with the pond."
"Naw, the water already melted. The ducks fly back alone."
Ruth shot a dirty look at Idgie but sat on the floor and pulled Idgie's weakened, drunkened body towards her. She gathered Idgie up in her arms and started to rock her. Despite Idgie's protestations, soon the drunken woman was curled up against her like a child.
"What am I gonna do with you, Idgie Threadgoode?"
"Love me." Idgie smiled softly, looking up into her eyes. As always, Ruth did.
The day before she had shown up at the river club grinning like a fool. She burst through the door shouting "I'm buying a round for every bastard in this place!" which was a joke, the liquor was always free. The men carried on like always, but Eva screamed over the noise, "What's the occasion?"
"I'm getting married!" Idgie announced, and those close by patted her on the back.
"You lose a bet?" Eva asked as she walked up.
"Naw Eva are you nuts? I'd never make a bet like that."
Eva looked confused. "Then who are you going to marry?"
"But Idgie two women can't get married. You know that."
"Well… the law says."
"Well I think the law stinks. I'm gonna marry Ruth."
Eva knew Idgie well enough to know there was no reasoning with her, so she didn't bother.
"When are you getting married then?"
"In the spring. Grady's gonna be my best man and Ninny will be the maid of honor and Buddy Jr's gonna by the ring bearer and we'll have the ceremony by the lake and we can take the train down to the beach for our honeymoon and it's not like we'll have to move 'cause we already live together-"
"Slow down honey! You're gonna go blue in the face if you don't breathe. When'd you tell Ruth?"
"She doesn't know yet. It's going to be a surprise."
"Honey you can't go surprising a woman with something like that!"
"Well it just ain't right is all. What if she says no?"
"What do you mean 'if she says no'?"
"What're you gonna do if she says no?"
This thought had never occurred to Idgie. Suddenly she felt like the wind had been knocked out of her. "What if she says no?"
"That's what I'm asking you."
Idgie began to take stock of who she was. Here she was, hanging with the men and acting like a fool while Ruth was home alone with the baby. Here she was, in the home of the woman she occasionally saw on the side if things got bad at home, while Ruth had no place to go. Pulling the ring she had bought in Birmingham out of her pocket, it occurred to her how selfish she had been. What if Ruth didn't want to spend the rest of her life with her? What if Ruth was just biding her time, waiting until the right man came along to sweep her off her feet? Idgie wiped her tear-streaked face with her free hand, and Eva put on arm around her.
"Shh, come here baby. Eva gonna make this alright." Idgie stood motionless, fixated on the ring in her hand. The ring had been an impulse buy, the result of playing poker with a few too many beers. When she had driven up to Birmingham she had only known that she was going to buy something sweet for Ruth. A necklace, maybe, or a bracelet. But when she had walked into that fancy store a salesman had called her attention to the rings. "Sir," he said, "Looking for a lovely gift for someone special? These diamonds will sweep her off her feet." And so Idgie had looked. Then she saw it – a heart diamond surrounded by red rubies. "Diamonds last forever you know," said the man, excited to make commission off of a ring so valuable. She just pointed, wordlessly.
Now here she was, crying in Eva's arms, holding this brilliant ring in her hand, replaying this fantasy she had dreamed up of a surprise wedding for the woman she loved knowing it may never come.