I woke up this morning to a lot of chatter in the apartment. I rolled out of bed and limped down the hall (I'm stiff like you wouldn't believe in the mornings) into the living room to see four more people than I'm accustomed to seeing. Mom and Dad were on the sofa with their coffee and the paper. Across from them in the armchairs were my mom's parents and at the breakfast table under the window sat my cousins.
So. Ok. Bec is my cousin. Our mothers are sisters. They also had a brother. He and his wife were Doctors Without Borders. The traveled a lot and did amazing work. They stopped traveling while my aunt was pregnant and then when the girls were old enough they shipped them to boarding school and resumed their traveling. Don't feel sad for anyone, yet. On holidays they all met up at whichever the closet vacation spot was and the Boarding school was a L'ecole so the twins moved around a bit on their own. They've lived all over the world.
Sad part: When we were 12 (miraculously all four of us were born months apart. Bec and I think they planned it.) my aunt and uncle were in Africa and there was an outbreak of something in the water. No one would tell any of us what it was but it was bad enough that the entire town was nearly wiped out and all of the infected bodies had to be burned. I don't even think anyone got to keep the ashes.
So the twins well-being was taken over by my grandparents, whose lifestyle was strikingly similar to my aunt and uncles, with the notable difference that they're not doctors. My grandfather was an Ambassador at one point and my grandmother is a very highly respected human rights lawyer.
They tended to show up from time to time. Not, however, in the middle of July when the weather was better - as my grandmother so delicately puts it - "under the arm of an old farm animal." Also it was that time of year when they truck in loads of sand and dump them along the Seine to make Paris a "beach." They eat that up. I've never been so I can't tell you what it's like.
"Good morning," I might have mumbled before my mother pushed a mug of coffee in my hand. I must have made some noise because my grandparents sprung from their seats and started to fuss over me as though I were still wounded. Then I remembered that I'd slept in shorts and my scar was on full-view of the world. If I were seeing it for the first time, I'd probably make a fuss, too. We got through all of the "are you alright?" "are you sure" and me and mom and dad all saying "yes, healed up just fine" "no big deal" "huge misunderstanding" and then finally one of the twins spoke.
"We're moving here."
That's all she said. And then she blinked at me with her blond ringlets and her huge blue eyes. Her accent was vaguely Italian, so I assumed they'd been in Italy lately. The list of languages they speak is as long as your arm. It's insane.
"Really? Permanently?" They don't do permanent for more than a school year. Sometimes just a single term. They're nomads. Gypsies.
"Yes. Permanently. They're going to live here." Mom had that tone that said we'd talk about it later. Which we would. Remember how much I hate change? Life is complicated enough. "Why don't you take them up to see Bec? They're all coming down for dinner but I thought it would be nice for you girls to hang out together. Maybe you can introduce them to your friends?"
Ok, that last bit, the "introduce them to your friends" bit. That had the tone of "Do It." And I know which friends she's talking about and I know what she wants me to do. She knows all about Society Tuesday and she probably has it in her head that by virtue of our having two slots to fill in order to get to our ideal membership of 6 actives coupled with the fact that they are blood-relatives AND sharing my roof means that they should be invited to join. So I ignored that bit.
"Alright, will you call up and see if Bec is awake? I'm going to shower and then we'll head up." I looked over at the blond duo in the corner and they nodded lazily in agreement. Great. They probably want to be here just as much as I want them here.
I'm probably not being very charitable at all. They are really cool. They've always been really cool. They've also always been really on the other side of the planet, with the exception of the odd Christmas or other random holiday. So now these two people who for all intents and purposes were no more than casual acquaintances are going to be living with me? I wonder where they're going to sleep...
Oh, and their names are Lille and Calais, both towns in France. I think they sound like flowers and have always been completely jealous.
So out of the shower and I lead them up to Bec. In the elevator we have little tv screens that play news clips and financial reports and the weather and such for the people who work in the office part of the building. Apparently there's never any need for the mind to wander when you're a mogul. Today there were stats from the American Heart Association about using the stairs and what it can do for you. As we were getting out it morphed into a picture of a cow walking up the stairs and the little tidbit the cows can ascend, but not descend, stairs - due to the construction of their knees.
I wonder who put *that* information there... ;-)
Hey, it's not big, but it's summer. We're all a little lazier when the mercury hits 104 daily. You would be, too.
Bec was thrilled to see the cousins. She can even tell them apart (apparently there's a mole on the cheek of Lille that is absent on Calais) and behaves as if they are old friends.
And now someone is banging on my door. Probably telling me to come out and be social before dinner. Suffice it to say that we spent the entire time talking about the Heist-Gone-Awry and Italy and where they'd be going to school. It occurs to me that if they enroll in the L'ecole at the Plaza of the Americas then they won't be at my school and they won't be in Society Tuesday, since it's a school thing.
I should go, before my door explodes from the impact.