Recovery from my affliction didn’t come as quickly as I had hoped. There was one more sleep that I needed in order to recharge my energies. The train ride into Surrey was a bit tentative for me. All I’ve had to eat in the past twenty-four was breakfast in the morning. Our journey was relatively late past the Friday night rush hour so that there was some space on the train. There were occasional periods of chills so I was layered appropriately even though the weather outside was mild.
This was our first trip together. The first as a couple that has just discovered something special and soon was about to face the meeting. Maybe I had some deep anxiety that was being expressed in a physical form or maybe it was just bad timing. No matter whatever condition I was in we were forging ahead slowly getting to our destination. My sis informed me that she was a bit delayed because of some accident on the highway. She had to take a circuitous route to bypass it. She wasn’t delayed for long.
Sitting in the back seat gave me a chance to collect my thoughts and close my eyes for a bit. The girls chatted in the front seat in excited tones to each other. Barbs has prepared herself for this encounter. We had discussed what was troubling me and how it has been playing out. I think that the initial shock of the news and the fact that I am still leaving a few days from now has forced my folks to kind of deal with it. All I ask of them is to keep an open mind. Barbs had purchased some flowers to give to my mom. She is determined to make a good impression.
The ride back into the countryside was pretty smooth. The traffic long since dissipated but the crews were still on scene taking care of it as we maneuvered around it. The familiar approach to the family homestead has changed over the time that my folks have occupied this address. Industrial Estates increasingly crowding the landscape like overgrown boxes arranged by someone with an obsession with arrangement. The few old remaining barns sit delapitated just waiting to be demolished for the next round of construction.
It was a warm welcome by my folks that came as a relief for me. Barbs has met them before but a long time ago at my brothers wedding. This was different though this time she was being revealed as someone significantly connected to me. My brother and the rest of his family were there already. It was his birthday the day before and this get together is turning out to have multiple purposes. There was a long series of greetings with hugs and attention. I sat down in the corner and relayed to my parents and everyone else there present in the room my experience over the past twenty-four hours. Some got a chuckle out of it as I described some biological defense mechanisms employed by my body to get rid of the offensive vector. There were also anecdotes of people who have similarly been hit hard by the various bugs that have been circulating in this region this season. Then talk turned to the Zika virus that has frightened the South American continent by the way it affects the fetus of an infected mother to be and the epidemic flu season in the Ukraine.
I indicated that I just needed to lay down and rest. It wasn’t going to be that easy first I was given a range of home remedies in the form of vitamins and minerals. There was a giant cuppa tea and a big bowl of kisiel with shredded apple to make its way through my system. I lay on the couch as it was the only appropriate place for me to rest. Barbs got the room in order for us to comply to my folks’ request for propriety. My sis-in-law got a kick out of it as well as my brother. There was no fight in me to challenge this request. It’s not like this was the first time I had someone over. When I was younger there were some I felt comfortable with bringing home with varying levels of success. This time I wanted it to work out and for all of us gathered together to have a fun time together. If there was a wish this was it.
My parents really are loving people and the discord we had earlier wasn’t present. I lay there watching the news drinking some water trying to get comfortable. Eventually I got some sleep even though there were intermittent interruptions from the baby cries or people’s movement getting to the water closet. In the morning I felt much better.
In the morning a request was made by many for coffee. The process of making one cup was complicated by the industrial production needed for many cups. I made good use of the available resources to me producing what my mom said was an excellent coffee. There was still work to do. I have things stored at my parents that still had to be moved to my storage unit. There was a call out by my sis-in-law for omlettes and I gladly put in an order. I needed something to begin renurishing my body with. We had limited time so my brother and I began the task. I climbed up the ladder to the space above the small office in the garage where my stuff has laid over the past four years. These are mostly boxes of books as well as some things that I’ve wanted to hang onto. I hit my head moving the boxes but luckly it was on a pipe and not the hard edge of the metal frame that sticks out of the slanted ceiling. The sound of my head hitting the pipe was audible to my brother waiting below for me to pass him the boxes. He laughed after he found out I was alright and told me to be careful.
We made quick work of loading up the boxes into his truck and waited for my sis to come along with us for the journey. She will probably end up putting some stuff into the locker herself as there is still some room left for her there even after this load. This gave us a chance to spend some time together as they helped me make more efficient use of space inside the unit. We chatted about the things most pressing on their minds and it regarded the future and how I see it developing. This was a common theme throughout the day.
When we got back I was eager to continue my packing. There were still some boxes to sort through as I decided the precise things that I wanted to take with me. There was the packing of all the leftover clothes and left over pieces. As I packed there was a crowd around me watching and interacting. There were a few touching moments as the emotion of the situation came welling up. There was a need to attend to each situation while still keeping focused on what I needed to do.
Barbs offered to accompany me to attend mass with my folks. It was a welcome surprise and it carried a lot of meaning to me and them. The mass was some kind of youth celebration and the sermon reflected some of the things that we discussed in the car on our way over to the church. The atmosphere was a lively one inside with many young people in attendance and leading the musical accompaniment. I’m happy at how this was going.
We drove back quickly with my folks not too far behind us. I needed to finish packing so that I could finally relax. The whole process of arranging and sorting eventually came to an end. I managed to fit all the things I wanted into my trusty suitcase and pack away the rest. It was just in time for us to eat and share a drink. As we sat there finishing and having a good chat my mom asked us a pointed question…
How come it took you guys so long?
How did you develop your relationship?
I began to answer choosing my words carefully as everyone watched our reactions to these questions. There was an intense amount of laughter as Barbs felt a bit hot and turned a bit red. I myself felt the pressure to answer the questions carefully. There is an underlying understanding of how we got to this point. Our attention shifted to the little one. He was standing! It was the first time that he stood on his own! What great timing😀. He took a bit of heat off of me and us but only once the excitement and the clapping stopped. We are all adults but without being explicit about how we came to be honest and open with each other they wanted to know what this meant to us. What does this mean for the future and how do we see it playing out? This kind of snuck up on us, these feelings. So much for just having a little bit of fun.
Our conversations carried on late into the night. I’m encouraged by all the love I’ve felt from everybody and acknowledge the difficulty and unique circumstances that this entails. I’m hopeful that the next round of parental introductions will be much easier.