Here is another excerpt from my book Riding Waves . I hope you enjoy reading it.
I say hi to Ashley’s mom as we walk into her house. I am surprised that she is home. Both of Ashley’s parents spend so much time at their restaurant that most of the time no one is home. I wonder to myself if Dan had told her that he was going to ask me out. When we ask her if I could sleep over, she says yes but that she would have to call Ashley’s father to see if we could sleep in the Winnebago. They usually keep it at her grandmother’s house, but since they had just been on a trip to the family reunion, they were still cleaning it out. When the kids were little they use to go on a lot of RV trips, but lately they have been too busy to travel. We go to her bedroom to wait for her mom to call him. She shares a bedroom with her younger sister, Sam, but she isn’t home now. As we listen to some music, I almost forget about my date tomorrow.
Then Ashley reminds me by asking, “So what are you going to wear tomorrow?”
“I don’t know,” I answer and I really mean it. It is only one date and it’s with Dan.
“Well when we go to your house, to see if you can sleep over and get your stuff, we can look in your closet.”
“I’ll probably just wear jean shorts and a t-shirt. I mean it is just a carnival.”
“Fine but a cute t-shirt,” Ashley tells me authoritatively.
I mumble, “Whatever,” but wonder why she even cares what I wear on a date with her brother.
Her dad says that we can sleep in the Winnebago, so now we need to walk back to my house. My mom is in her bedroom ironing my dad’s dress shirts when we get there. As I walk into her room to ask her, I think to myself that she is so beautiful. She was young when she had Jake and I, so everyone always asks if we are sisters when we go places. I hate when people ask that, but I can tell that she loves it. She has had long blond hair for as long as I can remember, and I think she walks on the treadmill every day so she is in good shape. She has on cute white shorts and a red shirt that ties in the front. She just started back to work part time as a nurse now that my sisters are twelve. That is also why I told them that I wanted to go to the community college because I know that she likes me home when she works at night. Even though my dad and brother are home most nights, they don’t really pay attention to what Ava and Sara are doing. They are good kids, but they are almost teenagers and they are starting to like boys so someone should be home to keep an eye on them. She says that I can sleep in the Winnebago, but to be careful. Careful about what I don’t know? It’s not like we were going to drive it. She says such strange things sometimes.
If she knows about my date the next night, she doesn’t mention it. I can hear the television in the basement. I am sure that Jake and Dan are playing video games since his parent’s car is still out front, but I don’t go down there. We make a frozen pizza for an early dinner then head back to her house to sleep in Winnie, our new nickname for the Winnebago. We forget to look at my clothes though. We see her sister, Sam, when we are packing a bag to bring into Winnie with us. She is so jealous, and asks Ashley if she can sleep in there with us. I wouldn’t care if she did, but Ashley tells her no. She is two and a half years younger than Ashley, but they don’t get along very well. Sam’s real name is Samantha but she goes by Sam. She is really into soccer and from what I have heard from others, she is one of the best players on the high school team even though she is young. We bring sleeping bags, pillows and some magazines to read. We have music on our phones and a flashlight too.
After she finally tells me all about kissing Paul in Georgia on their family vacation, she changes the subject quickly. She never called or texted him and he didn’t call or text her either. I know that she was disappointed, but she tries to act like she doesn’t care.
“So are you excited about college next month?” I say. I don’t want Ashley to be afraid to talk to me about going away to school just because I am not going yet.
“Yup. I just wish you were coming too. Whenever we talked about going to college, we always said that we were going to go together!”
“I know but I need to help with Ava and Sara now that my mom went back to work. And obviously, money is tight or my mom probably wouldn’t have went back to work.”
“I’ll come visit all the time and in two years, I’ll transfer there, and we can get an apartment together.”
We talk about everything except her brother and our date tomorrow.
Around midnight, we get hungry, and realize that we forgot to bring snacks. How that is possible, I don’t know?
When we look in the cupboards for food, and the only thing we can find is an old container of grape Kool-Aid. We decide that we don’t want to go into the house in case we wake her parents up, and I don’t want to see Dan in my pajamas, so we listen to Katy Perry, and just stick our fingers in the grape Kool-Aid container as a snack. Finally, around two am when we are too hoarse to talk or sing any more, we fall asleep. The sun comes up early in the windows of Winnie, so I decide to walk home to get some more sleep as Ashley goes to her bedroom.
Luckily, I don’t have to work today as I open the door to my house quietly. My dad is in the kitchen getting something to eat before he goes to work. My dad, like my mom, was really young when he had me so he is still really young and in good shape. He is in black pants and a button up shirt but no jacket. Sometimes, he wears a suit and tie to work but not today. He has curly dark hair like Jake and I, but he keeps it pretty short. We have similar builds so I probably look a lot like him except that I am a girl. I love when he has time to go running with me or play tennis. My brother never had any interest in sports even though my dad loves most sports. I heard from my dad’s friends that he played baseball in high school and was pretty good. I try to do well in sports, but I have never really been good at anything that I tried. I always say that I am a jack of all but a master of none. I do try, but I just don’t have the skills. My friends all think that that my dad is cute and very funny, but he is not home a lot. He works hard and travels often for his job. I am proud of how hard he works, but I do wish that he could be home more often. My mom never complains, but I am sure that she wishes he didn’t travel as much too. She reads and watches TV most of the time and takes great care of the four of us kids. Jake and I have friends, go to school and work part time jobs. Our twin sisters are twelve years old, so they aren’t home that much either now. I guess that she won’t have time to miss him as much now that she went back to work part time.
“Morning Harper. Rough night sleeping in Ashley’s RV?”
“Yep. I’m going to try and sleep more. I love you dad.”
“I love you too. Night,” he chuckles.
As I go to my room I think that our house is really nice. Ashley’ house is nice too, but needs a little cleaning and work. I suppose that as I am getting older, I realize how much my parents have done to give us a wonderful place to grow up. We have beautiful furniture in all of the rooms. We even have a pool table and an entertainment center in the basement. My mom did all of the painting and decorating on her own, and she keeps the house really clean. I hate when she makes me help clean and gets mad if my room is even a little messy, but I like our house. They both work hard to fix everything that breaks as well and rarely need to hire someone to do things.
I have my own bedroom that my parents let me decorate when we first moved in a long, long time ago. My favorite color was red then, and still is, but it is hard to decorate with a red carpet. My walls are a light blue now, and I have a new comforter from Urban Outfitter that I bought on sale. I have a bunch of frames on the walls though that I change all the time with my drawings or poems. I glance over at the recent drawing of a tree that I did and a poem that I wrote about graduation as I close my eyes and climb in my bed. As I drift off to sleep, I think that maybe I should cancel the date tonight.
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