“Peter said you had difficulty sleeping during the night. So, I didn’t wake you early. Now that you are up, just get ready quickly. Aunt will be over soon and we will start breakfast as soon as they arrive” – Della shouted outside the bathroom.
“Yes Della, I am almost done.” I heard the front door opening followed by Peter’s footsteps with the grocery. I ran back to my room and was ready just before aunt arrived. I just hate to look untidy and lazy in Peter’s presence.
“Oh jack, congratulations!!!! Look there. Haven’t you grown fast? Looking very bright, I say. Come and give your aunt a nice kiss early morning. Come over here my boy” – aunt standing there with extended arms. She does this all the time. She has big fluffy hair over a big round face with some shiny stuff on it. Della says she “spends hours” at the dressing table. Not sure why though. She looks the same before and after. Perhaps she reads comics at the dressing table.
I went over to hug my aunt.
“O come over here.” She pulled me as I tried to stand as far away from her as possible. What does she mean by grown up fast? I don’t think she knows what it means. She just says stuff.
“Go and help your uncle with some things out of the car.” Aunt uncombed my hair with her fingers, and went to the kitchen. I went out where uncle and cousin Dug were taking packets out of the car; cakes, sweets, presents, more bags and packets.
“Congratulations Jack. I heard the news. Is Peter in?” Uncle forwarded his hand to me. As I shook his hand he pulled me closer and gave good tight hug. Everyone is intent on ruffling my hair today.
“Thank you, uncle. I think Peter is getting dressed. Hello Dug, nice drive? I have come to give you a hand.” Uncle handed me some bags. Dug is a few years my junior. He was probably sleeping during the journey as he was still rubbing his eyes and his clothes were shifted around his body. Shoe laces undone.
“I am very well Jack. Thank you. Good morning.” That is a complex combination of three salutations for Dug, although in the wrong order. Of course, ‘very well,’ instead of his usual ‘Super.’ Aunt must have told him and made him rehearse it several times in the car. Now he will repeat the same to Della and Peter.
“Hello there, welcome, welcome; congratulations, it’s ok, have just come back from the supermarket, how was the drive, not too bad, nice and early start, bright day today, dying for some caffeine, and come on in.” These words were exchanged when my Peter came running out to greet uncle.
Breakfast served, eaten, without any incident between me and Dug. We used to end up throwing food at one another in my younger days. Dug had grown out of it too. He talked about his new school, games, and the comics he had been reading.
“I know the ending of such and such comic. You know why it ends like that? Because the main character is thinking it’s the right way to end his story to keep himself in the spotlight! It’s good for the sequel.” Yeah right, like Dug knows the answer! I thought but didn’t say. It will only result in another food fight. I wanted to avoid it, at least in Peter’s presence. I wanted to prove to Peter that I was behaving like a grown up. So I kept turning the conversation to his new town where uncle had just been posted.
“It was only last year I saw him, and boy, hasn’t he grown? He looks much sincerer now. Complete change of behaviour I have noticed. Children these days just grow so fast.” Aunt remarked. I just smiled back almost in agony as I just wanted to tell Dug how wrong his views were on the main character’s thinking pattern. Peter was busy serving everyone. Making sure everyone had enough to eat.
“Jack, can you take care of Dug over on your side. Look he needs more of so and so. Don’t just stare at your food. More orange juice for everyone? Coffee is still hot guys.”
“I have had enough Peter, don’t keep filling my plate.” Aunt declared, leaving most of the food still on her plate. Everyone else polished their plates. Table cleared. Peter, me, uncle, and Dug went to the local court for a game of tennis. We just knocked the ball around. It was a good laugh. I thought Dug turned out to be a better opposition in the court than I had expected.
Showers; we all went to our respectable cubicles for a quick shower. Peter got out before everyone and by the time we reached lockers, he was dressed and waiting for us. Uncle didn’t help Dug in his dressing up. That is a laugh. He still cannot tie his shoe laces. Socks worn inside out. Never mind. I am not going to mention it, as I have better things to think of. Everyone just said what a great time they were having during the drive back home. I shared the back seat with Dug. However, anytime Dug spoke in his fanciful ways, telling us about the great stadium in his new school, different uniforms for different events, uncle giggled in approval and I know he waited for the same response from us two. Peter and me kept quiet but in our minds we were looking at one another.
Back home, every one settled down for some tea, cakes. Dug being choosy over the type of cutlery; just because he is in company.
“Jack!” Peter shouted from his bedroom. I quickly went over. Peter will remark upon my good participation and team spirit in the court, which I am still improving. Perhaps I will be rewarded with a great kiss, that type...