Thursday, January 5, 2012

Murphy and Me XXXXII

[Sometime this weekend there will be a rather legit nonfiction post from me. Promise. At some point this upcoming weekend.]

The shenanigans started way too bright and early. Though the Happy Thanksgiving text from both Murph and Liam - with separate ones from Sasha, Cara, Em, Mel, Jo, Dev, and Colby - were both greatly appreciated and slightly unexpected. At least the volume. Dev's was shorthand and rather sleepy, but he was either still awake or had only just gotten up, and was therefore excusable.

Dexter, after pacing up and down the short hallway outside the bedroom for what seemed like hours, finally nosed open the door and decided to crawl in bed with me. And happily wash my ears.

Coffee was in order. Immediately. And Dex followed me down the stairs - almost bowling me over - and I staggered down the last few steps and almost into the stove.

"Look who's bright-eyed this morning," Dad chuckled. "Coffee, sweetie?"

I weaved around Mama and Aunt Janelle, who was a regular at our house for morning coffee on weekends and holidays, and beelined for the fridge - and the coffee creamer.

While wearing a flannel shirt that wasn't mine. A flannel shirt that was way too big, even considering I liked my winter sleepwear tops bigger. Shit.

Oh well. Live and learn.

"Cold in Geneva?" Janelle asked once I'd sat down, coffee creamer at the bottom of the mug. It would mix when Dad poured the coffee in, thus not requiring the need to dirty a spoon. Not that it mattered, as we had a dishwasher.

"Very." Mama handed me my freshly filled mug from Dad.

"It's a little big, don't you think?" Mama this time. "And a bit like something your Uncle David would wear?"

Uncle David's style was borderline lumberjack some days. There was no way to win this argument. Damage control, yes. Win? Hell no.

"Is it yours?" Dad finally chimed in, as expected.

Cue flaming face. "I'm borrowing it until B and G comes and actually fixes my heat." Go big or go home. "He's got, like, four." Which was true. The boy had multiple and he hadn't put up much resistance when one had come with me.

Then again, we'd had bigger problems regarding Murph's appendix and everything else had been relegated moot.

They seemed to absorb that and I sipped my coffee. The little black flip phone was upstairs - which was fine - and when Dad started taking rolls out of the oven, the only reaction appropriate was to salivate. And then steal one off the tray. As Aunt Janelle did the same, Dad doing anything other than semi-glare was rather pointless. It was tradition.

"Ollie, when do you want to do your birthday?" Mama asked.

To anybody else it would have been an odd question, but it was fairly standard procedure in our family that a birthday party rarely occurred on the the actual day of birth. We usually held out for the weekend - since it was better than, say, a Tuesday - and whoever was celebrating go to pick dinner and one form of dessert. Yellow cake, chocolate frosting, and cookie dough ice cream, please and thank you. Though rumor had it Dad was making cheesecake sometime today.

I told Mama Saturday sounded good. That way those going out for Black Friday didn't have to hurry home.

Aunt Janelle stayed for another cup and a half of coffee before heading out the door with an "I need to get my ass home and be productive" though how much productivity could be achieved on a national holiday was beyond me. There sure as shit wasn't anything I was going to be rushing off to get done - physics included - and that was both understandable and fine by me.

I did not come home to stuff my face and do homework. Well, yes to the first and hell no to the second.

"How is Murphy?" Mama asked. "Did he go home?"

"Yup. He and Liam and Colby are heading back, still on the road, I think, and he's doing okay. He's tired."

"So were you."

True. Very true. "Yeah." Took another sip of coffee. "He'll probably sleep better when he gets home." Until the sores on his heels go worse. "He got the card you sent." Because, once I'd gotten back from the ER that night...morning...whatever, whenever the hell it was I finally made it back to Jackson, and had gotten enough sleep to function, my first step had been to call Mama. Then text Izzy. Then text multiple people to ask how they were doing. Then, predictably, there was a nap.

There is no shame in napping as a college student. So long as it's not during class.

"What was it, again, that happened?"

"His appendix exploded." Rather gruesome, now that I think about it. But more or less gruesome than a six inch long, skinny twisted cyst a doctor pulls surgically out of your lady parts?

Yeah. That's a toss-up.

Mama headed upstairs to take a shower and I sipped cold coffee, occasionally trading remarks with Dad about the turkey, and he proudly said he'd made pie.

"Oh. What kind of pie?" Pie is good.


Normal pie is good. This might be a train wreck. "Fantastic." I picked up my coffee mug. "Can't wait to try it." When, in reality, I was beginning to think I wanted to wait until Christmas to have a bite.

It was a small crowd for dinner - only eighteen - and it was a regular food feast. Turkey, stuffing, broccoli, green beans, rolls, somebody brought sweet potatoes to go alongside the regular mashed potatoes, and a dish of corn because Dad doesn't eat any vegetable but corn. Between dinner and dessert was copious amounts of coffee to go around.

Izzy and I wound up next to each other on the end of the table closest to the corner cupboard, watching as the desserts were brought out. Cheesecake, Dad's pie, and somebody had made some sort of pumpkin mousse concoction in a graham cracker crust.

Pretty soon, along with a fresh cup of coffee, I was staring at a slice of Dad's pie and wondering what, exactly, it was held together with. Or rather, failing miserably at being held together.

The whole smelled like syrup. Pancake syrup.

"Hey, Dad..."

"Yeah, Ol?"

"This have maple syrup in it?" Somebody had to ask. As with most cases, it's usually me. Scratch that - it's always me.

Dad grinned. "Yup."

Great. Absolutely fabulous.

Izzy leaned over and whispered, "Chomp chomp."

Damn it. Generally, you take it, you at least tried it. As it was a holiday - and a new recipe - and I had an audience, fork found pie and pie found mouth.

Regurgitation was not an option.

"Shut up," I growled at Izzy after getting that first bite down. She laughed. Ah well. Can't win 'em all.

It was late - early, by my more recent bedtime standards - when I finally crawled between the sheets to curl around Edgar. He smelled, very faintly, of Murphy - a combination of his cologne, general boy smell, possibly shampoo, and probably whatever he used for laundry detergent. But it was Murph.

The phone buzzed. I tugged it onto the mattress with me and flipped it open. New text from Murph.

u awake?

Love T9. Yup. Hit send. Waited. Saw the light from the screen before it buzzed.

how was dinner? and the fam?

How to phrase this... Dad made a pie held together with maple syrup. Yeah. Self-explanatory. Other than that it was great. They asked about you. Even el. She'd come right up to me, looked around, and gone, "Where Morefy?"

The ceiling had a new patch of faint blue in the dark.

awwww :) ma and da asked how u were and about ur heat

Yeah. Still no heat. I'll just bring another blanket back. I pressed my nose into Edgar's fluff. Edgar smells like you. Send.

Damn I was tired. The buzzing jerked me awake.

yeah? :) miss you

Oh, Murph. You make my heart hurt. So much. I miss you, too. So much.

I sent that message and then opened another, typing I love you. Writing it made it feel more real. More tangible. But it was so difficult to say.

It's not that the feeling is wrong or superficial. It's not forced. It just, like so much of me when it came to things like this, circles back around to Bobby.

Bobby was the first real relationship I'd had, off and on all through high school and into the summer before my first semester at William Smith. We'd said those three little words, but, if it was true, shouldn't it have been more difficult to say goodbye each time we took a "break"? It should have hurt more, shouldn't it? It didn't. We cycled on and off and there wasn't much more to feel than lonely for somebody to spend time with, to hold hands and be comfortable with in those months we were off.

Murph and I are comfortable, but different. A different kind of comfortable. We were inherently different than Bobby and I. And those three little words...I wanted to be absolutely sure.

This was one thing in my life I didn't want to lose, that four month mark be damned. For the first time, this feeling for another felt bigger than me. A lot bigger.

Murph's newest message had arrived five minutes ago.

when do u think ur gonna be back on sunday?

Should be back before dinner. Why? Askin' me out on a date? :) Not that we made too much of a distinction between unofficial and official dates. What the hell was the difference, anyway?

The mattress shivered. That little flip phone had a mean vibrate.

u kno it ;) but yeah dinner sunday?

Predictable. Utterly predictable.

Yes. Dinner Sunday. As I'm falling asleep, I need to say goodnight. Night, murph.

Edgar got crushed to my chest. Much like normal.

The phone buzzed again.

night ollie :) sleep tight

I proceeded to do just that.

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz