“Hey Jason, lets play a game!” Jared says to me with an enthusiastic smile. I agree; three hours later we have battled through Age of Mythology: The Board Game and moved on to Tally Ho! Up next, we want to play Grinder (thanks to a nifty little travel-size version I acquired at a white elephant party) and maybe Monopoly. I love these games. I love this kid.
“Jason, mom wants you to go take a shower and then take something to the post office!” Rachel hurries back out of the room as I roll over and see the clock. 11 already, and I had wanted to be up by 10. I spring out of bed and jump into the shower. “Maybe I can swing by the library on my way back from the post office, I bet that new Brandon Sanderson is in!” I think as I towel dry. Pulling on a shirt and singing Les Miserables, I hurry downstairs. I pause in my journey to see that someone has already been to the library: my book (all 500+ pages of it; this excites me way more than it probably should) is sitting on the island. “I wonder why they didn't go by the post office while they were at the library, it's two seconds away?” I think, just as someone jumps out, pulls a scarf around my eyes, and ties my hands with a jump rope.
Several minutes later, I am trying to guess where I am being taken. “We took a right—we must be on Guess! Wait, why a left? There's nothing to the left...” My unseen assailants snicker at my confusion. I got back at them by 'accidentally' leaning into the people sitting on either side of me whenever we go around a corner.
“Hey Jason, guess what!” I lean in close to hear what Jenna has to say, and she pulls on my shoulder to hasten my descent. “Poke!” She pokes me in the cheek, then jumps out of reach before I can 'poke' her back.
Several hours later, Rachel summons me as I start to walk downstairs. “You forgot to say goodnight!” I reach up toward the top bunk to give her a hug; “Poke!” She retreats to the safety of the middle of her bed, and I laugh as I wish her a good night.
I love my life. I love these girls.
“Baby, it's cold outside,” Barry Manilow's voice croons over the kitchen stereo. I lean lazily against the counter, talking to my mom about friendship and beach trips. I grew up on Barry Manilow (along with The Beach Boys and Les Miserables); listening to his Christmas album is like a nostalgia buffet. My mom waves me over to help chop some broccoli, and I sing along to the music as I work.
Christmas is coming.
“Aren't these socks awesome?!?” My brother Josh holds the socks in question high in the air so that I can admire them. Somewhat bemusedly, I agree. I have never claimed to have any sort of fashion sense, in fact I believe that in heaven, my brother and I made a trade: he would take my sense of style, and I would get his love of reading. Thus, I really don't know if the socks are cool or not, but they look comfortable so I nod and smile.
Somehow, he convinced my parents that they should get an X-Box for Christmas. We've already decided we'll need to devote a somewhat ridiculous amount of time to pwning noobs next week. Having not touched a video game all semester long, I'm kind of looking forward to it.
My dad waves me over with a wooden spatula: “Jason, come stir these vegetables real quick while I check the steaks!” I put down my book and take his place, enjoying the pleasant aroma of summer squash. My dad is an excellent cook; he can make up a recipe for something after eating it at a restaurant and, nine times out of ten, end up with something better than what the restaurant had to offer. If I inherited half of his cooking genius, I think I'll be pretty much set.
Tonight's meal: filet mignon with mashed potatoes and summer squash. Aside from being incredibly delicious, this is the first time in months that I've had two great meals in a row, without several intervening nights of leftovers or macaroni.
It's good to be home.