It is Eddie’s seventeenth birthday, and he is sitting on his bed reading comic books when his mother calls him out to celebrate. In front of all their family and friends, including their visiting cousins from Romania, Eddie’s brother Joe announces that Eddie met a girl the night before whom he plans to marry. Eddie tells Joe to shut up, and the two fight until their father breaks them up. Later on during the party, Eddie’s mother asks him to dance with her while a record plays. While they dance, she asks Eddie about the girl he met the night before, and whispers that she is happy for him. Then she reaches out to Joe, and makes him and Eddie dance together. Eventually they begin to have fun, and turn their dance into a performance for all their family.
Eddie and his brother both show discomfort with emotion, while their father ignores the news of Eddie’s romance. Eddie’s mother is the only character comfortable with handling feelings. This scene shows romance and emotion to be in the realm of women (for Albom, apparently), whereas men without women would rather react violently than be vulnerable. Eddie’s mother uses her comfort with intimacy to forge a stronger connection between her sons. They only accept this connection when it seems sarcastic or humorous, however, thus hiding their vulnerability.