Recently, I have been thinking a lot about ‘family dynamics’ (particularly before we left on our trip). I find it so peculiar that for the most part, no matter how old/wise/sophisticated/idealistic/mature a person gets, all of that washes completely down the toilet when said person is placed back into the family group he or she originally grew up in.
Example: only a few weeks ago, my big sister came to visit Dana, myself, and our parents in Brisbane. We were all in the car on the way back from collecting her from the airport (and by ‘all’ I mean, Dana, Mum, Dad, Michelle and I). And suddenly I noticed, Dad was making crude and awkward jokes (intended solely on embarrassing the heck out of all the offspring in the back seat), Mum kept slapping Dad on the arm exclaiming, “Oh Robert! That’s ENOUGH!”
At the same time, Dana was sitting in the back seat to the left of me rolling his eyes (and yes, I realise he didn’t grow up with me, but due to the fact that he MARRIED me [I’m sure he’s questioning his initial reasons for doing so at this point], he strangely fits perfectly into said dynamic).
And to my right, is Michelle, my older sister, my confidant,
boss of the world, poised, mature, professional, theeee most excellent communicator who ever graced the face of this planet, also mother of two. However, her actions at this present moment were akin to a 14 year old’s.
“What was Michelle doing”, you might wonder?
Well… she was pretending to be about to pop the large pimple gracing her bottom lip, whilst pointing it in my direction. She was way too close to my face.
I was yelling, “StopitstopitMumDadDanafortheloveofGodsomebodymakeherstop” whilst feeling very queasy, leaning into Dana, pretty much on top of his lap. I retorted, “Seriously, I WILL vomit on your face!”
END SCENE I
“So why this squirmish recount”, you ask?
“We didn’t need to know all that”, you say.
Well, the fact of the matter is, I get a kick out of family dynamics. No matter the person you become or morph into, when placed back into your original surroundings, similar behaviours, much to everyone’s dismay, will eventually start creeping out again. There is no helping it.
There is only ONE other person in the world who makes me react in a similar manner. He is not family, and in the big scheme of things, I only spent a little part of my life with him. So it, to me, seems strange that such a strong reaction ensues.
His name is Aaron LaRue.
Besties as children, our life’s ambition (at the time) was solely to impress and out-do one another. Whilst reminiscing our friendship on the bus ride from Memphis, I recalled a few of the many instances that blur the lines between bestfriend and fiend:
We were constantly staging competitions to judge who could run the fastest on flat ground, who weighed the most (back in those days, weighing more was actually a good thing), who could make the best sandcastle, who could swim the farthest underwater (without coming up for breath), who could run the fastest in sand. And much to our dismay, we would always come up rather even.
I enjoyed the frustration it caused him to call him “Timothy” (his much disliked, ‘real’ first name), and he enjoyed annoying me in any way possible.
I remember one day, we were in my bedroom and I was trying to convince
Timothy Aaron to play Barbies with me. He flatly refused. “That’s sissy girl stuff. I AIN’T doin’ that!”
I continued to try and convince him to say ‘yes’, whilst making the point that Ken was actually invented so boys could play too. Finally, he agreed (YESIWIN), but only under the provision that I would NEVER tell any of the kids in school. We pinky swore, and until now, I have never told a soul.
This particular day, playing in my room,
Timmy Aaron had somehow discovered that I had a diary kept in the top drawer of my bedside table. He kept pestering me to let him read it. And because he wanted to so bad, I was vehemently in opposition to his plea. I needed to leave the room for some reason or another, upon which I threateningly warned him, “If you go ANYWHERE near my diary, I WILL (sohelpmeBob) punch you in the nose!”
I left the room, and returned only to discover him sitting on my bed, diary open in lap, with the biggest grin on his face.
So I punched him.
His eyes welled up with tears.
He cried (but only a little).
I felt terrible.
He ran and told his mom, who was having coffee with my mum in the next room.
I ran out behind him to plead my case (momentarily stifling the pang of guilt that was violently piercing my soul).
His mum replied, “Well, she DID warn you! And what did you think you were doing, going through a lady’s bedroom drawers?”
As with any 9 year olds, we were back as besties by the end of the afternoon. I am pretty sure I would have felt guilty enough to grant him entry to my diary, so all ended well.
END SCENE II
But gosh, I was such a bully.
I am sorry you have to know me Aaron.
Dana and I arrived in at the Jackson Greyhound terminal, and were met by Aaron LaRue. And immediately, I am transported back in time.
He is just a taller version of the boy I knew so many years ago. Same laugh, same cocky-ness, same big heart, and generous spirit.
It is so great to see him.
Dana and I are amazed at this person. We can both honestly say that he is one of the best guys around (and yes ladies, he is single). And we are honoured to call him ‘friend’.
We know he will go places, and is destined for greatness, and we are so blessed to be able to witness this, even if usually from afar. I am so incredibly proud of the man that he has become.
And to top it all off, he makes a pretty mean steak.
After being collected at the bus terminal, Aaron took us to meet his mother, who had requested/insisted we come visit her at work. It was SO great to see Ms. Gina. And I am almost appalled to note that after 12 years, she doesn’t seem to have aged one single day, and still is as beautiful as ever. Dana and I were so excited to be invited back to her (and her family’s) house on Sunday afternoon for a proper ‘Southern’ cooked meal.
Aaron took us on a quick drive-by of the house I used to live in, and the school we went to, and oh, my heart. I have missed this place. He promised to take me back here so I can indulgently reminisce, and take 100’s of photos that mean nothing to anyone in the world but me. And trust me, I will have no problem in boring you with them when I get the chance.
We went back to Aaron’s house and what did we do? I challenged him to a game of ‘bananagrams’, and rightfully so, administered a down-right ass-whooping to my dear, oldest friend in the world.