Finally, the volleyball match. Not much to say, but it introduces something my daughter wanted to put in the story: the rules of cool. We get to see Julie trying to figure out what it means to be cool. Some foreshadowing for...
My life to far, episode 7: Morning ritual
Letters : 11107 Words : 2141
One of the first fully collaborative episodes. Julie wakes up and goes on her day. A nice episode where not much occurs in term of action but a lot for Julie. She also admits not being that reliable. I wonder if this will come in play later?
I woke up before Mindy, and put Mr Bear on her dresser, leaving the room, silently, to go to the restroom.
They had a full bathroom, not just a sink and a toilet like in the cabin we rented, but I didn't feel comfortable taking a shower without asking anyone.
I did swim in the lake, so isn't that a little like showering?
The house was silent, so I decided to get outside where Mindy's father was sitting at the same picnic table where we ate the previous evening.
He was sipping on a coffee, with half a toast on a plate in front of him.
He nodded when he saw me.
"Hi, did you sleep well?", he asked me
"I did. Did you?"
"Always. If you want breakfast, serve yourself, and come eat here. It's a very nice morning"
"No, thank you", I just said. It was too early for food
"Oh, do you not know how? Sorry, I shouldn't have assumed. I can whip something up for you"
But I reacted. "I do know how. I am just not hungry yet"
"Do you drink coffee?", he asked
"I am twelve", I replied, almost shocked
"I know, but many kids your age drink coke and it has caffeine too", he replies
I look at him, and think.
I go sit on the bench, not thinking about a towel and he doesn't correct me. Maybe because it's their picnic table? Maybe because I am a kid? Or maybe, simply, because he is not fully awake.
"I think the problem isn't the caffeine, but the taste. And the status of it", I said
"When I was your age, or a little older, I wanted to drink coffee because I wanted to be an adult early"
"Did you grow up a naturist?", I asked
"Me? No. Clara neither. "
"So how did you become naturists then?"
"That's the big question, isn't it? How. We had a friend, Tom. He was one. Well, not a fully committed one, but on campus, he made these nude parties. He basically invited friends to just talk and drink, while nude. We went, and we liked it"
"Wow, just like that"
"Well, no. There was a lot of hesitation and introspection. But eventually, we decided to just try it and we enjoyed it"
"So that's how you decided to move here?"
"She showed it to me"
"Ah, I should have guessed. No, the reason we moved here is so stupid, you'll laugh"
"We wanted to buy a house, right? But when you buy a house, you also buy the plot of land it sits on, right?"
"I wouldn't know"
"Well, you do. However, not here. We rent the land from the resort, but own the house. And since only naturists can buy it, back then, when it was put on sale, the price was low enough so we could actually afford it, but not houses elsewhere in town"
"Mindy grew up in a naturist resort because we couldn't afford to buy a house elsewhere. Granted, we were happy she did, well, we still are. We love our naturist life in general and this house in particular. But we picked this house because it was the only one we could buy at that moment and ended up staying"
I looked at him.
"Hey, I know kids like you think that us adults can do whatever we want, but we are still limited by money and resources, including time. We usually do what we feel it best for us and our families, but like kids we make mistakes and we don't have our parents to help us out"
"Aren't they our grandparents?", I said
He nodded, laughing. "Yes. They are. That's the definition of it. The parents of your parents. But I don't live with my parents, so if I break something in the house, I can't ask my dad to fix it. And if I screw up my finances, I can't just borrow 10 bucks to fix it. A house is expensive. You pay for it over 25 years!"
I look at him. "Twenty five years?"
"We bought the house before we had Mindy, but while Clara was pregnant with her. So, we will finish paying our mortgage, that's the loan to buy the house, when Mindy will be 24"
I looked at him, stunned
"And it's the same for your parents. They are still paying for it, I suspect. Unless that company of them rakes in a lot more money now than when we lost touch"
"I wouldn't know"
"Yeah, parents don't usually talk about finances with their kids. "
"Ouch. You have the spunk of your mother. Good point. But it's early, and I haven't had my coffee yet. "
"Isn't that your coffee?", I asked, but not trying to be a wise ass, even if he caught it that way.
"Well, it's still half in my cup, isn't it?"
Clara came out soon after, and just sat next to him, putting her head on his shoulder and wrapping her arms around him.
It was nice. Call me a romantic, but even today, when I am dating someone, that's something I love to do. Just, wake up in the morning, put my head on their shoulder, and remain silent, emotionally drinking in the moment.
She just smiled at me.
"Don't mind my wife, she's not awake yet"
"Is she sleep-walking?", I asked, confused
"He means that I am up, but not fully up. More like half-there"
"See Julie, adults normally take a coffee to fully wake up, but Clara here doesn't believe in caffeine"
I look at them, confused.
"I believe in caffeine. I just don't believe it's any good for you, so I don't take any", she says.
"Ready for the bike ride?", he tells his wife
"Ugh, no. When do we leave? I have to pack lunch, you know?"
"Kylie said she and Julie would help"
"Is that true, Julie?"
I look at her, and I have no idea what she means.
"Oh, she didn't tell you, right, you slept here, didn't you?"
"We are going to the creek on bicycles", says Peter
"That, I knew"
"Good, and we will eat a lunch there, and be back in the afternoon"
"It's that far?", I ask, worried
"No, but we will spend a few hours there. The place is beautiful", Peter said
"So how far is it?", I ask
"It takes us perhaps an hour to get there, but we go slowly. Clara was never great with a bicycle", he says, teasing her
"Hey, I am better than you on a skateboard", she says, pointing to his arm.
I looked and saw a little scar.
"You never even tried", he said, teasing her again
"I know my limits, unlike you"
I watched them banter back and forth and realized that this is what I wanted from a relationship. I didn't know it then, but Peter and Clara were setting the template of what I want in my marriage. For many people, it's their parents, but in my case, Clara and Peter came into my life at a crucial moment where I was trying to see myself as relationship material.
I saw my father exit the cabin in the distance, followed by my mother. I had no shock or surprise at seeing them nude. My father had two towels and my mother a bottle of liquid soap.
I was a little shocked to see that they went to the side of the cabin, and started a shower. Passing the bottle of soap between them, they washed themselves, and each other's back.
As Peter and Clara were planning the lunch, for the first time in my memories, I was watching my parents take a shower together. No, it wasn't intimate or anything. Just, nice?
I excused myself when they were drying their bodies in front of the cabin, and joined them.
"Hey, sugar, sleep well?", my father asked.
"Yeah, so this is where I shower?", I asked
"If you'd like, or you can go in the sanitary block near the entrance, they have internal showers. You could also ask Peter or Clara, they have a bathtub.
"Can I try this one?"
"Sure, but there is almost no hot water. Be warned"
"Thank you", I said, as he gave me the soap. I preferred bars of soap for a shower, but this was more practical.
"I'll get you a towel", said my mom.
They both left, holding hands, while I tried to get some hot water. The problem wasn't that it wasn't hot enough, it's that it had no almost no pressure. It was too hot to just use hot water, but if you mixed in some cold, it turned cold really fast.
I got a decent temperature and washed my body, looking around. I could only see Clara and Peter. Clara now had a bowl of cereal, and Peter was talking to her while she ate.
It felt even weirder to be able to see people while in the shower, than the idea of people seeing me showering. I don't know why I felt that way, even to this day.
But I was done before my mother came back with the towel.
"Sorry kiddo, we hadn't fully unpacked and I couldn't easily find a dry towel", she said
I told her not to worry, and dried myself as she spoke to me.
"I told Clara we would help her pack a lunch"
"I was thinking that you could take care of the toasts, and then, the lettuce for the sandwiches"
"I can do that", I said, happy to help
"Good. I have celery and carrots but I'll let an adult cut them"
"I cut celery at home"
"I know, kiddo, but I forgot the knife I let you use"
"It's one of the sharpest, I can probably use one of theirs"
She put her hand on my shoulder.
"Honey, the sharper the knife, the less dangerous it is. Well, not with a small child, but you've been big enough for a while"
"Isn't it the opposite?", I ask, confused
"A dull knife will bounce and could cut you. A sharp knife will do exactly what you tell it to do. The technique I gave you to cut celery is safe because the knife does the work. But if you have a dull knife, you will put pressure and it might make the blade bounce"
"I didn't know that"
"Dad told you how I lost my job, right?"
"I was a sous-chef and the restaurant closed. I couldn't find a job because, well, I wasn't good enough. There, I said it. I am not a good cook, and I wasn't a good sous-chef. But my father was a chef, so I thought I should be one"
I looked at her, she was sad. Almost crying.
I hugged her. She hugged me back.
"Thanks kiddo.", she said. "Did you eat breakfast?", she asked me. I hadn't, and I was hungry now. Weird, isn't it? It's like the shower woke me up.
And so, we went to a picnic table on the other side of the cabin from Peter and Clara, and ate breakfast as a family. Just the three of us. Well, and an elderly couple sitting on a bench nearby, drinking coffee.
I got a toast, with peanut butter and jelly, and a bowl of honeycomb cereals.
"Maybe you should have showered after breakfast", joked my mom using a napkin to clean some milk off my chin, and off my thigh.
I finished with an orange juice and helped my mom put all of the dishes in the little sink, in the cabin.
"We'll do it later", she said, winking at me. At home, we would put everything in the dishwasher right away, but today the dishwasher would be us. I suspect I would dry the dishes, since it's what I do with the big pots and pans.
We did lather ourselves in sunscreen, something of a habit for naturists.
When we left the cabin to get to Mindy's house, my dad was busy re-inflating our bicycle tires to make sure they were perfect.