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I don’t know why I thought that going to see him would fix it, but it didn’t. It seriously just made it worse. This time, I started having dreams about him.
In this one, I was sitting in a cafe. The waiter brought me my order. I payed for it and when I looked at him closely, it was him.
That’s not the only one. I was standing in a line about to pay for some items at the store. I didn’t have enough money, so they told me to get out of the store. Then, he tapped on my shoulder from behind and he told me that he would pay for it. Of course, in each one of them he was smiling. If you didn’t know, his smile is the most captivating, and his white teeth would make me blush every time. Not that I like him, but I like it when people smile.
I sat down at my desk, grabbed my Mac Book, and logged onto the website where I do my math for school. For whatever reason, my teacher teaches every other subject but algebra. That was actually the only subject I needed help with, considering the fact that my mom would just completely give up. Before I went to high school, she used to always say that if I needed help with homework, she could help me with any other subject but Algebra 2.
I clicked on the lesson and began to hear the boring, old man’s voice. Right when I was about to doze off to sleep, a large Picture Link notification chimed and showed up on my screen. (Picture Link is like Instagram, but for photographers.) Saved by the bell.
I clicked on it. I mean… I would do anything to not do that stupid algebra and hear that man’s voice.
“Hope liked your post.” It read.
“Who is Hope?” I wondered.
I clicked on the profile picture which said, “Hope World” and went to the page. "Hope’s account is private."
“Then why did the—never mind,” I said.
I exited out of that tab and unfortunately, had to continue my school work.
One time, my mom took my phone away because I wouldn’t do my algebra. It’s not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t like it. I did the math, but I also wasn’t upset because I understood. If she didn’t take the phone away, it wouldn’t have gotten done. I wasn’t addicted to my phone, but I still was failing math.
“Why is this even a thing?!” I yelled. I was now three hours into doing this one problem. Every time you get something wrong, they move you down a level and you can’t move on until you get it right.
“Gab!” My mom yelled from downstairs.
“Coming!” It was getting to the point where my garbage can was starting to fill up from paper. I would do anything at this point.
I raced down the stairs. At the bottom, I was surprised to see my sister, Tasha, and her husband, Jermaine.
“Tasha and Jermaine!” I squealed.
They both gave me a big hug. Next to them was Caleb, my great nephew. He isn’t the best toddler, but he is currently being trained.
“Get off of my Nana!” Caleb yelled.
See what I mean? He is the jealous type, but what he doesn’t know is that I had her first.
I raised my hand as if I was threatening to slap him. I don’t know why he gets to me when he’s only four.
“Caleb, don’t be mean,” Tasha said.
“You knew they were coming. Why are you acting like this is your first time meeting them?” my mom asked.
“I know, but I haven’t seen ya’ll in forever,” I said while giving her another hug.
Tasha is the oldest. She is the one that got me started on Oreos and Shrek and also, my coffee buddy. I remember I used to go her room when I couldn't sleep, and she would pour some milk in a glass to dunk the cookies in and we would watch Shrek together. When Jermaine was at work, she would come over and I would make us a pot of coffee. Medium roast, strong brew, almond milk creamer with a little froth on top. That was before she moved to Seattle.
Jermaine used to literally buy me anything I asked for. One time, he bought me a $70 kitchen play set when I was seven. I was so excited. Though I only played with like two parts, it was the heart behind why he gave it to me. I like it when he comes around. Not because he gives me gifts.
I helped her take off her coat and I hung it on the coat rack for her. She took a deep breath and asked, “What have you been up to?”
I gave her an irritated look. “Algebra 2.”
“You can have that. I may have been able to help you with addition,” she said.
“No, thank you,” I declined.
We all talked for a few minutes, until we heard a familiar voice.
“Hey, guys!” my sister Jess announced.
“What’s up, family?” Chris, her husband, added.
“I missed you so much!” my mom cried.
She gave them both a tight hug.
Jess, or Jessica, was my twin. That is, if twins are 16 years apart. We are both the same height. We both have straight teeth, but a gap, which I guess that means it wasn’t straight, but you get it. We could pass for twins. Well, we think we could, but everyone else said otherwise. The only difference is that she had wide hips and darker skin. My skin would be considered a toffee color with a hint of red and her’s would be milk chocolate.
Jess told me that she used to be a hard person. She used to wear nothing but blue jeans and a white t-shirt and listened to Tupac and other rap songs. When my mom told them that she was pregnant with me, she said that if it wasn’t a boy, she wanted nothing to do with it. Then, I was born. She said that after that, I softened her heart. I used to sleep with her and lay on her and call her Jai Jai. She had me spoiled rotten and probably had a harder time letting me grow up more than my dad did.
“Is that my Bookie?” Tasha asked.
“Pookie?” Jess teased. When they were little, they called each other those names. Tasha was named after Winnie the Pooh because her skin color was similar to his. I don’t know how Jess got her name.
It was fun to see them reunite. I haven’t seen that in a long while.
“What’s up baby sis?” Chris asked while coming in for a hug.
Chris was the big brother I never had, and I always dreamt of. He, too, spoiled me to death. Every time we went out to eat, he paid for my food. And when I wanted something else to add to my hobbies, Chris was on top of that. He was the same way with Jess, but I think I appreciated it more.
“Nothing much, big bro,” I joked.
The reunion went on for a while. About two hours later, there was a knock on the door.
“Boothang!” Caleb called.
Tasha used to call Max, Boothang. My dad nicknamed her Boo and she got the rest of the name from a song. Kids pick up on things fast, so Caleb started calling her the same thing.
“Hey Max!” everyone announced.
“Its been a while,” a tall, Korean man said while coming in the house.
“Hey Jeon!” my dad called out from behind. I don’t even know where he came from. (Jeon is pronounced as John.)
“Hey Gabe,” Max greeted.
“Hey,” I said awkwardly. As I said before, things are not bad between us, just not the same.
I looked up at her, then back down at my phone. You could tell that she was heart-broken considering the fact that her little sister still hasn’t talked or seen her since their wedding day and I barely said a word to her. I didn’t know what to say.
Jeon walked towards me to greet himself.
“Hey Gabe,” he said while coming in for our handshake.
“What’s up, bruh?” I said as we were completing our handshake.
Like I said before, Max and I were best friends. We are like younger versions of Tasha and Jess, only we were much closer. She was the one that told me to be myself despite of what anyone said. That was when I didn’t care if people thought I was crazy for wearing big shirts and pants. I just wanted to be myself, though I didn’t know what that looked like just yet. She encouraged me to start drawing and making music. She knew that I wasn’t the best, but was sure that I liked doing it. That was when I started to see things in a more artistic way. So, I now have a thing for people who feel the same. Maybe that is why I like cute boy so much. He expresses himself and I like that.
I stayed there, on my phone, while they talked. It was all fine until JK came into the picture.
JK was always there, but when math came into play, he was gone. I don’t see how anyone could be so bad at math. One time, his brother asked him what seven times three was and he had to think about that. He was like... 18. We honestly didn’t see how he could have graduated. JK always used to help me with my science projects because he was so creative.
One time, my teacher asked us to make a shadow box and it had to be about nature. Back then, I didn’t allow my mind to go far. I didn’t really know how to be creative. Gladly, for him, it flowed naturally. JK is a singer, dancer, artist, photographer, videographer, painter, athletic, and songwriter. I think I got lucky. 😊 I was going to just do something like the nature around us, but he had an amazing idea to do the galaxy.
“She said to do nature,” I said.
“I know. The galaxy is part of nature.” I raised an eyebrow in confusion.
“What makes you think that?” I asked.
“The sun rises, right?”
“Yeah,” I replied.
"And the sun is a part of the galaxy, right?"
"Yeah," I answered. I was trying to see what he was getting to.
“The other stuff wouldn’t work without the sun rising,” he stated and had a pretty good point.
We worked on the project for hours and hours and in the end, it was the best in the class. He was the one that made me fall in love with galaxies.
Everything was all fine and dandy until Jess’s big mouth had to ask, “Where’s the dressing?”
After that, everyone chimed in. It was all of the sudden really loud because we started reminiscing about how good it was. This, too, was another precious memory.
“I remember when I first tasted that dressing. That was the day I knew that ya’ll was going to be my new family,” Chris said. We all laughed.
“Yeah and then every year for your birthday, mama would make you some,” I said.
“That was the only thing that I have ever wanted in life.” He joked.
“So, where is it?” Max asked.
“It wasn’t good, so I threw it out,” my mom said. It was quiet for a few seconds, then we all started fussing at her.
“You threw it out? Mama, I am going to die! I am so hungry!” Max said as she pretended to faint.
“Mama, please tell me you are lying!” Jess whined.
“This is what I came for!” Tasha added. We all stopped our riot and looked at her.
“Oh yeah, and ya’ll too,” we continued on and my dad chimed in with us.
“I didn’t eat lunch because I was waiting for this.”
“Okay. I will make more. But I need someone to go to the store,” my mom announced. Everyone looked at each other.
“Not it!” Tasha said touching her nose.
“How old are we again?” I sarcastically asked. Everyone began making excuses.
“Mama, I am tired.”
“Yeah. I just got here.”
“We came from a long distance.” This continued on in a circle. When it got to me, I added:
“I just did some algebra, so…”
“That ain’t no excuse,” Jess instigated.
“Boo, go to the store,” My dad said.
“Ha ha!” I laughed.
“No. Maxie just came all the way from Korea. Let Gab go.”
“It’s your turn you do it this year, anyway,” Jess added. My smile faded.
Mama handed me the keys and the list. Every year, someone always has to go back to the store. It was Jess first and Max had to go with her. It was Max second and I had to go with her. Now, it’s me and I’m going alone because Max is “too tired.” But, I knew that it would be awkward. 😬
“Don’t forget the cranberry sauce,” Jess yelled as I was going out of the door.
“Yeah. And get some ice cream for the apple pie,” Tasha added.
“How about you go to the store?” I sassed. They looked at each other.