The place where the lights went out. Deep into the fresh air with electric stars and fields of night time adventure.
I arrived in town at my grandmother’s house on Thanksgiving. Greeted by the heavy-New York accent my uncle defines. The skinniest girl (being his daughter) was pointed out fairly early into the conversation. New York Accent included.
Tradition is very important in our family. Not in a traditional sense though. A few good qualities passed along include:
Snorting when we laugh.
Not being able to carry a tune.
Talking with our hands.
Perhaps the most shamed upon would be smoking. Every woman in the family excepting the most pure, smoked cigarettes. And no one wanted to be that pure except one person. Our Princess. Queen is what really fits her, but Mom already called that title.
The Princess is the one we all look at with hope for ourselves. A healthy dose of jealousy. A huge amount of respect. And a giant feeling of awe. Everyone has one in their family, our’s is my younger cousin, Sarah.
When I arrived at my Aunts house Tuesday morning, she immediately informed of the news. Thankfully the tumor was ”normal” and sarah was not going to die. Then, the religious part.
Sarah had found a church group.
Religion is not a big ‘to-do’ in my family. In fact, it’s more of an opposite tradition, (a threat some might go so far to say) so when Sarah joined the church group, she was definitely the first we had heard of. One of us? Going to one of those? Don’t be silly. We’re too strong for that stuff. Give us a pack of cigarettes and let’s call it a night.
As the week progressed, I met a friend of hers from the church group. Intrigued, I stayed to watch this turn of events. Anyone that could be involved with the church had to be at least watched for a little bit. (just to make sure nothing strange was going on here.) I curiously gawked as a small boy of probably sixteen, pulled out a collective bout of James Bond knowledge. (Accompanied by a video)
Though the conversation seemed a bit forced (mostly from my end) he was so tame, I couldn’t find a thing wrong with him. Fun? Camping on a retreat. I wouldn’t even have the heart to ask him if he had used drugs. Not to say I didn’t try.
I caught myself wondering if this was real. Could someone really be that generally nice? Then I looked over at Sarah who was laughing hysterically at the side comments to James Bond. Oh yeah. I guess he could be.
I decided to lay low after invading her movie time with a boy. A boy. She shouldn’t be seeing Boy’s alone. Maybe I shouldn’t have intruded in the first place, but you never can be too sure with the strong opinionated type.
As we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Sarah and I faced the skinny-model looking cousin, but were too side tracked with Aunt Deborah’s snorting laugh and Uncle Mark’s flamboiant hand gestures to really notice.
“Should we tell her about our excitement?” Deborah asked Sarah. Sarah didn’t seem to know what excitement had happened.
“Well…. Sarah was just napping there during lunch at school when all of the sudden someone tried to wake her up and she just wouldn’t come to. So they called the principal, he couldn’t wake her. They called the police. They couldn’t wake her…”
I look toward Sarah, to see if she’s at all nervous about the conversation, but like some sort of strange miracle, she is laughing.
“I named it Teddy the Tumor.”
Oh my dear God.
I couldn’t help snorting when I heard it. I wanted to laugh harder, but I was trying so hard to keep it in. Why should I keep it in? It struck me why I didn’t like the religious idea. No way would I want to lose Sarah to anything that could be stronger than our family. That wasn’t going to happen. Teddy and I were going to be just fine.
At the risk of sounding cheezy, I knew I wasn’t in the dark anymore.