January 8th, 1989

January 8th, 1989
Orlando, FL
Gabriel’s parents’ house

A gorgeous guy called Gabriel came to visit me during the night. He tiptoed into my room, and in a whisper, asked, “are you asleep?” I had only, just a few minutes before, turned off the light, after writing for ages. I pretended to be asleep, and when Gabriel got really close to me, I opened my eyes and shot my arms up, towards him. Gabriel jumped back, and actually let out a shriek, then he doubled over, cracking up. I sat up on the bed, and dissolved into a fit of giggles. When Gabriel stood up, we looked at each other and cracked up laughing.
“You scared the shit out of me!” he exclaimed, forgetting to whisper.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.”

We lay on the bed, and each had a bad case of the giggles, that lasted for quite a while. Fortunately, my room was on the other side of the house to G&G’s bedroom. We eventually calmed down, and in the dark, we talked for ages. There was a fair bit of kissing as well, but definitely a lot of talking.

I was freezing, and dying for a cup of tea, so Gabriel went to the kitchen to see what he could find, but sadly he came back empty handed. The sun was just coming up when he crept back to his room.

I woke a few hours later with a raging headache that I attributed to a combination of too much air conditioning, and not enough tea. I stumbled out of bed, and followed the sound of the loud salsa music, coming from the kitchen. Grammy was making blueberry muffins (yum) in between dancing, in time to the beat.
“Morning, cutie,” she shouted. “Go grab me some oranges!”
I must’ve had a blank look on my face, because she tilted her head towards the back garden. Ah, yes, of course. Florida. Orange trees.

The breezy air felt warm, and I took my time picking, and sniffing each orange, before reluctantly stepping back into the freezer. Grammy belted out a song, in Spanish, while she squeezed the juice from the oranges, then she poured some into a glass, and danced her way over to me. I took the glass from her, and she clutched my other hand, and twirled me around the kitchen.

Gabriel appeared, and the shouting continued, as the three of us danced around the kitchen island.
Grammy to Gabriel: “this girl can dance.”
Gabriel to Grammy: “she’s awesome.”
Grammy to me: “shake it honey!”
Me: “woo!” (weak, I need tea!)
Grammy to Gabriel: (as he spins her around) “you want coffee?”
Gabriel to Grammy: (mid spin, winking at me) “you got any tea?”
Grammy to Gabriel: (slapping his arm) “you get that from your Mother…go grab the teapot from the china cabinet.”
Me: “woo, woo, woo” (I think I’m getting tea!!!)
Gabriel, to me: (as he takes my hand and dances me into the living room) “tea for two, two for tea.”
Me: “woo hoo” (loudly, from the excitement I feel, when I clock the teapot in the cabinet.)

Quick kiss in the living room as Grammy yells from the kitchen, “hurry up you two.”
Continued dancing back into the kitchen, where Grammy is still twirling. A sense of euphoria, elevated each second by the mere prospect of tea.

And not only did Grammy make proper tea, complete with Loose leaf tea, in a warmed teapot, with a tea cozy to boot, but we sipped said nectar from bone china cups. All to the beat of the salsa music.

Gabriel and I drove to West Palm Beach and it was, to use his word, “awesome.” The beach was crowded, with an array of slim, very tanned bodies, average age, Eighty! After we’d had enough of the sexy seniors, we took a long walk through various neighbourhoods, where the homes all looked rather grand. Most of the properties were gated, but we could still see beyond the gates, to the mansions.

On our way back to the car, we stopped for some frozen yogurt. There was enough in my dish for four people, but I still managed to polish it off.

Back at G&G’s I was amused to hear we would be “eating dinner” at four pm. We sat outside, and I had to laugh when Grammy said she felt cold, considering the temperature inside the house, with the air conditioning cranking, was a good thirty degrees less.

The biggest steak I’ve ever seen, appeared on my plate, and I swear if we’d stayed there any longer I’d have started mooing. G&G argued their way through dinner, mostly over whose job it should be to wipe off the sticky little bits of ketchup that gather around the lid of the bottle!

Grammy came into the room while I was packing up the last of my things. She gave me a hug, and said I would be welcome back anytime. I told her I’m going back to England soon, but that maybe when I start my new job I’ll visit whenever I get a trip to Miami. She said she’d love that.

The light was beautiful as we left Miami behind, and I actually felt a little bit tearful. Gabriel didn’t speak for a while, and I thought he might be feeling sad because he’d just said goodbye to his grandparents. I didn’t want to be the first to break the silence, so I waited for him to speak.

When he did, his questions surprised me. “How do you think it’ll go when you see Ben again?”
“I don’t really know. This is the longest we’ve ever been apart since we met, almost six years ago.”
“I hope it all works out for you guys.”
“Thanks, but I don’t know if it will ever work out for us.”
“That’s confusing.”
“I know. It’s confusing to me too. Thanks for letting me come with you. I really enjoyed it all.”
“My grandparents are a trip,” he said, shaking his head.
“It’s nice that you got to see them. Are you sad you’re going home soon?”
“Oh yeah,” he said, with a sigh. “I love going to school in California, but Florida is home.”

Liza was delighted to see her son, and had a barrage of questions, most of which I answered while Gabriel took a shower. Poor Carina looked miserable, sitting at the kitchen table, surrounded by a pile of homework. I helped her with English Lit, but the algebra stumped me.

I got a whiff of Gabriel’s freshly applied Cool Water, by Davidoff (us hosties know all the fragrances, duty free and all that!) as he walked past the kitchen. Carina screwed her nose up and gestured, “far too much,” with her hands, which made me laugh.

When the phone in the kitchen rang, I jumped. Carina went to get up, but Gabriel grabbed it first. He turned his back to us, but I could hear him. “Yeah,” he said, “we just got back from Mi…”
There followed, what I can only describe as a series of piercing screams, coming from the other end of the receiver. Carina mouthed, “Maria,” and shook her head. Gabriel began describing how I look, but was interrupted by more screams. Carina rolled her eyes, and I mouthed, “very healthy vocal cords.” I thought Carina was going to fall off the chair.

After Gabriel hung up, he disappeared for about ten minutes, then he came back into the kitchen, and asked if I’d like to go out. I said I really didn’t have the energy. To say he looked relieved, would be a major understatement.

We ate popcorn while we watched ‘Risky Business,’ and Gabriel teased his little sister about her “crush” on Tom Cruise. Liza suggested I stay, as it was getting late, so I rang Miriam to let her know we were back from Miami, and that I would be spending the night here. Again!

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