The college session is over and we plan to write together during the Christmas holiday. Here is vhapter 25 in the meantime, in time for Christmas!
My life so far, Episode 20: Meeting Edith, and cleaning up
Letters : 10023 Words : 1898
Introducing Edith, who will become an important character over time. Edit was actually one of the first character defined by my daughter, before she decided to tackle this project. I also personally added a little element which will be used in a later chapter
The next day was a lot better at school. I was able to follow along, and I even met Edith, who came to eat with us in our secret spot.
It felt weird to me that this little corner of heaven with Mindy would be invaded by a girl who was a stranger to me. She wouldn't be for long, in fact, she should soon become a good friend, but so far, she was a threat to me. I knew full well that three girls being friends often spoiled doom for one of them and I was the youngest.
What was even worse was the quality of the relationship she had with Mindy. The two shared many classes and could socialize in group projects which they always did together.
Fortunately, it means that they mainly spoke to each other, and I could just follow along. My shyness took priority over my fears.
But, near the end of the meal, Edith asked, out of the blue.
"I was wondering, that means you get a full-body tan, right?"
"Oh yeah, no tan lines at all.", said Mindy.
I don't know why it made me ill at ease, but Edith wasn't a naturist, at least, she didn't seem like one, and there, the subject was open and on the table.
"I did ask my mom if I could come, even if I kept my clothes, but she flat out refused. In fact, I don't think I'll even be able to invite you over now. I think that she sort of hates that we are friends"
"Oh, that's sad. So, Julie will be my only friend over to my birthday then"
Edith turns to me.
"So your parents don't mind if the party's at a naturist resort? I'm jealous. My mom is too close minded. I mean, I don't think I would be able to actually be naked, but I wouldn't mind tanning my breasts. I mean, in Europe, sunbathing topless is common, right?", she says
I look at her, I have no idea. In truth, I feel like a deer caught in headlights, unable to move.
"Yeah, her parents are cool. They've been friends with my parents over a decade ago, and only recently found each other thanks to us reconnecting", says Mindy.
I scan every word, and nothing hints that I am a naturist.
"Cool. I am happy to have a naturist friend", says Edith, looking at Mindy, with a smile.
You know what she means. Mindy is exotic, and now, she can be thrown under the bus if she gets into a fight with Edith, giving her leverage over Mindy. And me, well, I am the underdeveloped girl of the group. Both of us were expendable.
Fortunately, the first bell rings, and Edit runs along, but I grab Mindy aside.
"Can you not tell her that I am a naturist too?", I say
"Why, you are one, are you not?"
"Well, yeah, but I am not ready to come out in public yet"
"Gotcha. But she will figure it out one day"
"Maybe, but can it not be today?"
Mindy smiles. "Sure"
I don't see either of them for the whole afternoon, and soon enough, I leave with my parents picking me up at school again.
"This is starting to be a habit", I tell them
"First, do you have a lot of homework, kiddo?", asks my mother.
I think, sitting in the back of the car. "About 20 minutes?"
"Ok, we have some delivery preparations to make at the warehouse you visited. Here is what I have to propose, if you agree", says my mom
"We go there, and while your dad and I work on the delivery, you clean the trailer. I know, it's not fair and all, but that would give you a table to do your homework"
"No, I don't mind"
"Ok, I'll go there then", says my dad, starting the car.
"Yeah. It might take time"
"Start with the table, and the seats, and around it. We'll order Chinese"
"Yippee!", I reply. I love Chinese food.
"But after supper, while we continue cleaning, you do your homework
"No forklift tonight?", I reply
"No, it's a serious machine, kiddo. We are supposed to not let you on it before you are 16 I think"
"And with a driver license I think", says my dad.
"So just little rides from time to time?"
"And not near our new trailer. I did get the $1000. Well, dad did"
"So it's final?", I ask
"Well, the bank needs to approve, and the landlord. But yeah, it might be ours before the end of the week. We signed the papers today. Again, dad did. I was securing contracts and finding medical suppliers from overseas"
"For Robert?", I ask
"Well, yes and no. If it's only for him, it's not worth it. I can't import like, 10 boxes of tongue depressors, but 500, maybe, if they fill at least half a container"
We arrived at the warehouse soon after.
I help carry water bottles, while my father brings cleaning supplies, and notably, two garden hoses.
I look at him, but once my mother unlocked the door and we get in, he connects one of the hoses from a faucet on the wall to a connector on the side of the trailer, and the other one from the trailer to a grate in the floor, to empty the "gray water", which is the water from the shower and the sink. Some of it is used to fill the toilet, but eventually, the gray water tank will overflow, so he connects a hose to it to evacuate it.
"Sadly, don't use the toilet, we'll need to use the warehouse restroom exclusively", he says, pointing to the door on the side of the wall.
"So, can we undress?", I ask
My parents look at me, and soon enough, the three of us are nude.
They assemble boxes by the garage door, with my mother operating the forklift and my father finding the boxes.
Often, they needed to lower a whole pallet from a top shelf, and then, remove those over the one they want, put them aside, remove the one they want, put back the discarded one on top of those remaining in the pile.
Later, I asked them why they didn't just lift the one they wanted and those above, but they showed me: the forklift doesn't reach high enough for the 3rd box on the top shelf.
Most of the time, however, I was isolated from them.
I used various cleaning products to clean the kitchen table which sadly was stained and scratched. When I saw we had magic erasers, however, I scrubbed and now, we had just a scratched table.
I'll be honest, I had begun with the seats, since I didn't want, even on a towel, to sit on those dirty couches.
I discovered, however, that they could be removed, with storage under them. That section was known to the previous owner and filthy too, but I handled it, with grace and elegance.
Who I am kidding, it was disgusting.
The seats, I washed outside the trailer, using the inbound water hose, with permission of my father, to rinse them.
This however, added a new problem: they wouldn't be dry enough for sitting to do my homework.
Oh well, that's a problem for later.
I even had time to start on cleaning the counters by the time my mother joined me.
"I am done, kiddo. Dad is finishing up. You did good"
"But the seats were filthy, so I had to rinse them"
"I know. I think we'll just sit on boxes for eating."
"But my homework?"
"On the floor?", she proposes, but then I have an idea
"On your bed!", I suddenly proposed.
"Right, you often do them on yours"
So, it's agreed and we end up cleaning up together.
Now, I know I said that teenagers didn't have cell phones, but my dad had one, so he called to order the food and got dressed to pick it up at the door while my mother and I stayed hidden in the trailer, cleaning up.
I did the fridge, which was cold, while my mom did the rest of the kitchen, including the various drawers.
She had it easy... I had a lot of mold to remove, even if my dad had done a first pass. Well, he had it even easier, only checking the exterior of the trailer.
When the food arrived, my mother was cleaning the shower, while I was in one of the closets.
My father undressed and we put old boxes on the floor, and towels on top.
We hadn't had Chinese in a while, in part because our favorite place closed down, but this one wasn't that bad. The rice was perfect, but the won ton soup was disappointing.
The rest of the meal was touch and go, but nothing was completely hated or rejected.
They did not include fortune cookies which was surprising, but apparently, we learned later that they do not include them for free and need to actually be ordered.
Oh well, I never liked them anyway.
I ended up on the bed, doing my homework while my parents continued the cleaning job. I didn't lie down on the sheets, but rather on the various towels
I finished before they were done, but I couldn't do much, so I loaded the sheets into plastic bags and put them by the garage door.
They would be cleaned eventually by my mother in our washing machine, perhaps even a few times.
We got dressed and left with a feeling of a job well done.
Still, the trailer was locked after the still wet seats were put back in because the shipping company will open the garage door tomorrow morning to pick up the shipment using a lockbox key.
"Couldn't they rob us?" I ask
"Sure, but I also go to meet them. I just, sometimes can't make it in time. If they even rob us, however, they will be in a world of hurt. We have excellent insurance and only deal with insured carriers. We know these drivers"
"So why lock the trailer then?", I ask
"Because it's not insured by the company's insurance", said my dad.
And I understood something important that day.
Life isn't just about reducing risk, but also about having contingencies in case those risks become real.
My father didn't think anyone would steal anything. Honestly. But if someone did steal something trivial, the trailer wouldn't be covered by the insurance while the merchandise was.
It made me think of Edith. Why? I have no idea, but Edith had a power over Mindy which my friend didn't think about. I did.
And yet, Mindy had even more risk! She lived at a naturist resort, while I was just her friend. I could always claim I was never nude at her house, or that she perverted me or something. I had a sort of insurance policy which Mindy didn't have.
Despite this, I was worried and she wasn't.
We got dressed and left. It wasn't that late so we went in the backyard and I practiced volleyball passes with my father. We didn't even bother undressing, it was starting to get late and we hoped to grab as much light as we could.