My Auntie is super religious. She’s older than my mom, not just by age, but by the way she is. After her husband died she kind of jumped right into the church widow thing. She doesn’t have any kids.
I called her last night, after rehearsing all my responses to possible questions about my life. I used a pay phone at Walmart.
“Hello?” My Auntie said. She wasn’t sounding as chipper as usual.
“Hi Auntie it’s Alanna.” I felt uncomfortable, calling with ulterior motives, not just to talk to her.
“Alanna!” She cheered up a bit then. “How are you?”
“Where are you calling from?.”
“We’re shopping at Walmart. Mom didn’t want me to use her cell phone.”
“How is your mom? She never calls anymore.”
“She’s busy with all her new house cleaning clients.”
“Oh that’s good.”
There was a pause as I took a moment to plan my words.
“I wanted to ask you when confession is, cuz its Easter time, I mean Lent time, and I haven’t gone in a while.”
I could tell by the pause that she hadn’t been expecting this.
“Oh, well there are lots of reconciliation services this time of year. The church near your place has one every Friday until Easter.”
At this point I was feeling like a total jerk, because I have no real intention of going to confession I just needed an excuse to call Auntie, and I have to get her thinking about my birthday so she’ll remember and hopefully give me money.
“My friend Emma might come with me. She’s new at school and she’s Catholic too. She came to my birthday party last weekend.”
“Your birthday! How could I have forgotten that?”
“It’s okay, Mom made a cake and I had friends over.”
“Oh, no it’s not okay, I’m sorry…” She goes on feeling guilty while I stand there feeling even more guilty. “I’ve been all wrapped up in things happening here…” She doesn’t elaborate and I don’t ask.
“Well, how about I take you to a movie?” Auntie says.
Not exactly what I was thinking but I could buy chocolates and popcorn at the theater, not to mention sit in a nice warm place for a couple of hours. And I could save the chocolate bar for later. They make great meals when you’re starving. There’s just enough sugar and fat to keep you going.
“I’m sorry.” My Auntie is apologizing again. “There’s a film all the kids are talking about.” (My Auntie’s a grade school teacher) “Wreck Ralph?”
“Wreck it Ralph. I don’t think its playing in the theaters anymore…”
“It is! At the discount theater. Have you seen it?”
“No.” I’m thinking of all the ways I can switch this movie plan into just getting cash.
“That’s perfect then. But we can’t wait till Friday because that’s when they change the movies.”
“I can pick you up tomorrow night. I haven’t seen your mom in…”
“Can I just meet you at the mall Auntie?”
“I don’t mind picking you up…”
“Yeah but I want to go earlier with Emma and… get some ice-cream.”
Ice-cream? Wreck It Ralph? What am I like 7? And suddenly this Emma girl I made up is my new best friend. I’ll have to write her name on the back of my hand so I don’t forget it.
“Alright. I’ll just meet you there. And your mom can join us too.”
“Thanks Auntie I’ll tell her.”
“And your friend Emma if she’d like.”
“She’s already seen that movie but I’ll ask her.”
We pick a time and meeting place then she says bye. That was last night and I guess I’m going to see a kid’s movie tonight. I know it’s totally lame, but I’m actually looking forward to it. It’s such a ‘normal’ thing to do and lately I’ve been feeling like I need something normal, even if just for two hours.