January 5th, 1989

January 5th, 1989
Orlando, Florida
Miriam & Hank’s condo

Didn’t wake up ‘til eleven am, but still felt quite tired. Gabriel was in the kitchen, and I mentioned that I should probably be getting back to Miriam’s. Just then, Liza came back from her walk.
“Morning, honey,” she said, handing the newspaper to Gabriel.
“Hey, mom.”
“How are you, Karen?” Liza asked, squeezing my arm as she passed me.
“Fine, thanks. I hope it’s ok that I’m still here. We were out late last night, and…”
“Och, it’s fine. You’re always welcome. It’s no as if Miriam doesn’t know where you are.”
“That’s true, but I don’t want to overstay my welcome.” Gabriel looked over at me and smiled. I returned his smile, and continued. “I should probably be getting back to Miriam’s, soon.”
“I was thinking of going for a wee drive, seeing as it’s such a nice day,” Liza said.
“Mom, it’s Florida. It’s always a nice day.”
“Aye, I know that Gabriel, but today is awful nice.” When Gabriel turned his back, Liza stuck her tongue out, and I laughed. “Gabriel, do you fancy going for a wee drive?” she asked her son.
“Sure,” he said, spreading the newspaper across the kitchen table.
“Come with us, Karen. We can stop somewhere nice for lunch.”
I looked at Gabriel for his reaction, but he was engrossed in the sports section.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Aye, of course. I’ll make us a wee cup of tea first, then we’ll go.”

Gabriel offered to sit in the back seat (which was more like a plank of wood) of Liza’s MG, but there was no way he would fit. I managed to contort myself just enough to squeeze my way in, and found a place for my knees, in between the front seats.

We drove for about an hour, then stopped at a place called Ron Jon’s surf shop. As soon as I saw the surfboards, I thought of Pamsy, and felt excited that she’ll be here next week. I bought Pamsy a t-shirt that I know she’ll love, and made a mental note to take her there.

We spent a few hours mooching around Cocoa Beach, and I really enjoyed seeing the old fashioned looking, two story motels, with the huge signs out front. The beach itself was incredibly expansive, and I’ll definitely go back with Pamsy.

Over lunch (yummy seafood) Liza suggested I go with Gabriel, when he goes to Miami to visit his grandparents. According to Liza, Miami about four hours away, so I expect Gabriel will stay overnight. I need to ask him how he feels about me going, but haven’t had a chance to yet. Now that I know about his girlfriend (I’m sure they’ll stay together) I feel quite bad we’ve been spending so much time together (not to mention the kissing!)

Liza talked for most of the ride back, thereby reminding me even more of my mum. Carina was the only one home, and said she was happy to see me again.
“You’re obviously looking for help with your English Lit homework.” I teased.
Carina nodded her head no, and smiled. I did help her, and afterwards we watched MTV. When the ‘Wishing Well’ video came on, the two of us stood in front of the tv, mimicking the hand movements of the backing singers/dancers, but we made no attempt to follow Terence Trent D’Arby when he did the splits! Gabriel sat on the couch, rolling his eyes at our antics.

When Liza & Gabriel brought me back to Miriam’s, I sat out on the balcony with Gabriel, and we watched the sun go down. I wanted to ask him about Miami, but he seemed a bit pensive, so I didn’t say anything. Liza and Miriam stayed inside, drinking wine, and each time I caught Miriam’s eye through the French doors, she raised her glass, and gave me a cheeky smile.

Tonight, I went to Del Taco’s with Miriam, just the two of us. While I tucked into the biggest taco salad, ever, Miriam asked if I’m still enjoying being here.
“I’m having the best time.”
“That’s good, I’m glad to hear it.”
“I hope my mum and dad can come over sometime, they would love it here.”
“When you start working for British Airways you can bring them over.”
“I know. I just hope I hear from BA soon, with a starting date.”
“I’m sure you will. Are you excited about it?”
“It’s funny, I haven’t thought about it much, but now that you mention it, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Miriam went on to say how supportive mum and dad were to her when she was going through her divorce. And how they continued to help her when she made the move from Scotland.
“I like that you always speak highly of my mum and dad.”
“Oh, I don’t forget who helped me in my time of need. Your mammy and daddy are gems.”
“They really are.”
“And your mammy and I will still be pals, even when we’re auld, auld, women.”

Then Miriam surprised me by asking if I’m going to Miami, with Gabriel. I told her I haven’t decided yet.
“Well, this is just my tuppence-worth, but I think you should go.”

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