During the summer vacation between my junior and senior year my parents celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. They had gone on a cruise for their honeymoon so they had decided to re-capture the experience. The biggest difference was the first cruise had been on a second rate ship and had lasted only a week. This time around, due to the fact that they were better off financially, they booked a master suite with a balcony and this cruise would last 15 days.
Now normally when they went away I would stay home by myself. But because they would be gone for over two weeks during the height of summer party season had made them amend their thinking this time. Instead they arranged for me to stay with my father’s brother and his new wife.
“Listen Jim” my father explained “I know you aren’t happy about this but it’s the way it’s going to be. We trust you but we’ll be gone almost three weeks counting the flights we have to take each way and your mother and I won’t worry if we know you’ll be at my brother’s house. You’ll eat real food this way and if something happens there will be someone there to help. Besides after what happened at the Fosters’ last year your mother was concerned that something bad could happen.”
The Fosters’ were our neighbors and when they had gone away their kids had thrown a wild party which resulted in both a lot of property damage when things spiraled out of control, as well as the police responding to said problems resulting in some charges being filed.
“Anyway you always liked Uncle John and maybe you can spend time with your cousins. Plus you know they have an in-ground pool.”
I had no choice anyway so I decided to make the best of it. I had a part time job so I would be pretty busy anyway and they lived in the same town so I could still see my friends when I wanted. Since I could visit my house I didn’t need to go crazy packing and brought a minimum of clothes and toiletries as well as my laptop computer.
My Uncle John drove me there the evening of my parents’ flight to save them the trouble of driving me,
so we said our goodbyes before I left. Uncle John was younger than my father by a couple of years. He and his first wife divorced a few years ago after fourteen years of marriage and two children, my cousins John Jr. who was now 14 and his older sister Ashley who was16. Uncle John had remarried last year to a woman a few years younger than he was. Aunt Laura was an elementary school teacher and the few times we’d met she seemed to be really nice and good for my uncle.
“You can stay in John’s room. You know since I bought the house your cousins don’t actually live there but with their mother. They each have a room for when they stay though I figured Ashley’s room would be too girly for you sport.”
“What if John comes to stay?” I asked.
“Well I know this upcoming weekend he is doing something with some friends and he might stay with one of them. So maybe Ashley will be coming but not John. If he comes we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. While you‘re staying feel free to have your friends over, we don‘t want you to feel like a guest.”
“Thanks Uncle John” I said.
“And you can have your girlfriend over if you want, just use some common sense” he said to me with a wink.
“Vanessa and I broke up right before the end of the school year” I told him. We had gone out for eighteen months and most of my family had met and liked her.