Yesterday was Tante Joce’s birthday… And Papa’s too.
Every year, I can’t help but feel really bad for her. I mean, birthdays have always been pretty tough for all of us… But I don’t think anyone has it worse than my Tante. It’s been more than twenty-five years since we lost Mama and Papa… But every year, it’s the same. She’s so miserable. I mean, she tries to hide it, but you can tell how hard it is for her. And I can’t really blame her, can I?
It makes me think of the triplets. Alex and Tony are so far away now, but they’re still just as close with Charlie as ever. They’ve been best friends since the day they were born. And it makes me feel sick thinking of what it’d be like if something terrible happened to one of them. How could the others go on? How could they handle growing old without their Schwester?
Anyway, I always try my best to make sure Tante Joce has a great birthday. It’s been extra hard the past few years since Alex and Tony left… But Charlie and I do our best.
And we still do a midnight movie, just like Papa and Tante Joce used to when they were kids. Once I was old enough, Grandpa started letting me stay up to watch with them. I’ve never been big on horror movies, to be honest. Especially those old cheesy ones Tante Joce and Papa and Grandpa love so much. They’re just… so stupid.
Grandpa says Mama never really liked them either, so I guess I take after her like that. But she still used to watch them with Grandpa when she was a kid, and with Papa too. And she never complained about it. So I don’t either. And I guess I secretly kind of love doing it every year, even if the movies are total shit. Maybe that’s why Mama put up with it too… It’s kinda nice doing something special on Papa’s birthday. Especially doing it with Grandpa and Tante Joce.
Grandpa ended up sitting out this time though. He likes to joke that he’s too old for staying up late anymore. “When you’re my age, you go back to having a bedtime!” He’d been falling asleep halfway through the movie for the past couple years anyway… And I love him, but he snores like a freight train! I’m not sure how Tante Joce puts up with it.
I was a little bummed Grandpa wasn’t there, but it was actually kinda cool having it just be me and Tante Joce. We don’t really spend a lot of time together where it’s just the two of us, and she definitely took advantage of it last night. We barely even paid attention to the movie… We were too busy talking.
First we went over some of my plans for the grand opening next weekend, which was pretty fun. Tante Joce has always been one of my number one cheerleaders, I guess. She’s always been on my side, no matter what. And I really love her for that. Of course, it can still be kinda tempting to roll my eyes at her when she starts going into one of her little speeches about how proud she is… But last night, it actually felt really nice to hear.
Of course, as soon as she broke out of ‘proud parent’ mode, she immediately dived into ‘nosy parent’ mode. I guess that deserved a little bit of an eyeroll… All her grilling about Abigail was kind of annoying. But kinda sweet too, in a way. I think she can tell how well the two of us have been hitting it off.
Last night was our fifth date. I took her bowling at the new alley that opened up downtown, and we had a great time. Abigail’s a really nice girl, and so adorable too. She loves hearing me talk about my restaurant. She tells funny stories, and she’s so damn smart. It’s amazing.
I’ve been having so much fun hanging out with her, but it’s still nothing serious right now. We messed around a little after our date last night, but we still haven’t even had sex yet. And we haven’t really ‘defined’ whatever this thing is either. I feel like I’ve gotta kinda ease myself into it, y’know? Especially now that Hope’s back in town.
Yeah, Tante Joce talked about her too. And, just like she guessed, I’ll admit that it’s a little… complicated.
But I can honestly say that I’m in a way better place since last year. I’m not wallowing about it anymore. I’m not spending every meeting with Dr. Hall obsessing about her. I can go on a date with another girl without feeling like I’m ‘betraying’ her or something. And now that she’s back in town, I can spend the afternoon alone with her without us ending up in bed together.
I’ll admit it though — Having her back… It’s amazing. No matter what happened between us or how hard is to let go of those old feelings, the point is, she’s still my best friend. And now we don’t have thousands of kilometers separating us anymore.
I really don’t think her timing could have been any better. Everything really feels complete now that she’s here, y’know?
I have my family. I have my friends. I have Abigail. I have Hope.
And next week, I’ll have my restaurant too.
I totally neglected to thank ra3rei for Abigail (If you read Rae’s stories, she might make an appearance in the future… Can’t say more than that haha). So a huge shoutout to her! Also, Jes2G gets a big thanks for the lovely Victoria Pruett too! (I forget if I ever credited her! Victoria was submitted way back when for my casting call)
And while I’m in the mood for giving thanks to the creators of the three lovely ladies in Zayne’s life right now… Another enormous thanks to ThePlumbob for our beautiful Hope!