In seventh grade, I went to one my friend’s place. We were pretty close back then. But back then, close really meant hanging out most of the time, no real chum stuff, no real compatibility. And that was not really by choice, there were only a few people who shared my idea of fun.
Well, past tense.
So this time when I finally went to her house, it has left quite a mark on me. A negative one. And I look back at that day, I’m just reminded of how things started to change. Maybe you’ll see after all. This incident is in fact a mirror to her personality.
We were walking down to her building, I remember we climbed the stairs. That means something, I am not just cribbing! Stairs are cool, but when they are each five inches high and run on and on and on, forever, it’s no short of a Mount Everest feat! Really, what were the builders thinking?
With our tongues out and gasping for breath, we reached the THIRD floor, rung the bell and waited. And waited.
What, you mom MIGHT NOT BE home? So where are we supposed to go?
WHAT? You can go to your grannie’s so what about me?
WHAT?! I can go home?!
All this happened in the twenty seconds her mom took to travel at her leisure from the kitchen (the FIRST room inside the house) to the door.
But this might have been my idea of a little joke then, so I went along. We went in, and suddenly there’s this call. For my friend. It’s her friends from around her house, calling her to play. So sweet, huh?
They’re calling her now. And she’s shrugging her shoulders. Why is she shrugging her shoulders?
“It’s really… I can’t say no to them…. I gotta go…”
What just happened? She’s out of the door before I can say anything. Aunty comes out of the kitchen, in much better speed, and looks at me. She calls me in to the kitchen, and we talk about what she’s making for lunch. Yeah.
“OHHH I love that! It’s really my favourite! Thank you aunty!”
And much syrup-talk. Really, one would become diabetic if they heard it all!
And then suddenly, she tells me they would be playing just under the building! Lo and behold! So I rush down those stairs again (mountains, remember?) and find my friend yapping away with her mates. Some mates. A girl who calls herself a tomboy (that’s kind of a ‘cool’ tag here) and paints her nails a fresh coat of pink every morning, a midget boy who struts like he’s the boss… the reason they’re getting this panning is because they made it none the better to be there. Bossy little twits, did their best to make me fall in that football match they proposed thinking I would be bad at it. I wasn’t any good, but I gave some defence. And I think that’s the only constructive thing that happened on that visit.
Then we returned to her house, via the STAIRS. Why do they have a lift if it doesn’t work, ever?
Then we had that lunch, that was “my favourite” which was not so bad after all. Actually it was pretty yum, so maybe the whole trip wasn’t so meaningless after all. 🙂
And then. Then she just did it.
First we sat and she looked at me and said “So what do you want to do?” and then , she went out and started playing god-knows-what on her mom’s cell while I was waiting for her inside.
Gosh, I don’t know what made me go to her house. But I swore I would never return, come what may. And even as I said “Thank you for having me” when my mom picked me later, I really meant “GOD! Thank god it’s over!”
And then, it happened all over again. I had a great friend again. I was going to her place again. But this time it was different.
She too asked me what I wanted to do. I talked to her mom too, even about lunch. I was alone once again. But it was nothing like the previous one.
We walked down to her house, we climbed the stairs, we waited for the door to open.
But when it did, I knew this was no more deja vu. Her mother was such a warm person. Gushing and filled withe energy, she welcomed me into that little haven I have grown to love. Can you believe it, we had the same thing I did at the other one’s house! But you know, it was nothing like it. 🙂
We really did nothing. Played a prank on a school friend, ran songs, became members on Pixie Hollow! But everything was so perfect! Here I was, doing nothing again. But it was so much brighter than that other nothing!
And this time, when I said “Thank you for having me” I was really wondering “When can I come again.” And mom drove away, with me dreaming about the ice cream sundaes I hated but now loved.
So… is that hospitality?
To smile and to make the worst of events the most memorable?
Is this really the difference between her and HER?
I hope it is. But I’ll catch you later, got a call from that second friend. 🙂