I walk up to Jane’s door and ring the doorbell. It shouldn’t surprise me that nobody hears it ring. I take a deep breath and knock on the door with my fist, as loudly as I dare.
A barking starts up from inside the house and Xena stiffens in my arms. Its Hasslehoff Huskey and I have no doubt Xena remembers that bark. The talking inside is interrupted now by shouts of dialect that I don’t understand and the door suddenly opens. I expect to see a rough looking Viking man with a horned helmet on his head and an angry scowl on his face but Meagan opens the door (Jane’s 7 year old sister), her hair wild and her face flushed. Her eyes go wide when she sees me
“YOU CAME! You got my note!” She runs off, calling for her sister. Hasselhoff Huskey barks at Xena a few times and is taken away by a very tiny elderly lady who looks like she’s from the “old country”. She is strong though, handling HH with no problem.
“Who is it?” A gruff voice shouts in a thick accent. It is a short, biker-looking man. I was right about the angry scowl, but not the horned helmet. The music and shouting continue once again, not only men’s voices but women’s too. The women’s voices are sharp, piercing the eardrum, especially when they are laughing. I’m not sure what they are celebrating but I spot two large tables laid to the brim with food, lots and lots of food.
“Who are you?” The man asks accusingly. I presume this is Jane’s dad, the head of the household.
“I’m a friend on Jane’s.”
“We are busy here, what is wrong with you boy?” This causes an outburst of laughter from the group of adults in the kitchen/living room area. Jane appears, flustered and flanked by a group of like 10 children.
“Dad. This is… my friend.” Apparently she doesn’t remember my name, but I don’t remember telling her my name last time our dogs were in a death battle.
“There is too many in my house!” Jane’s dad yells and there is another outburst of laughter in reply, they all talk at once and laugh…
too much in the house hahaha
the fattest must go out
open the windows!
You will not fit the fattest through the windows!
It is you who is the fattest
no it is you!
No, I am the fattest!
All of this said in English, for my sake I guess. I honestly can’t remember the last time I heard this much group laughter, in real life, not just on a stand-up comedy bit on youtube.
A plump woman comes over to the door and pulls me inside by the arm, making me almost drop Xena.
“There is never too many to be a guest in our house!” The plump lady says. “I am Leena’s mother, it is nice to meet you. What is your name?”
“Caleb.” I say. Jane’s dad walks off, defeated and grumbling, as the others continue to jostle him, ‘here comes the fattest of the house! If he goes out then there will be room for three more people to come inside! Hahaha’
“Leena take him to play.” Jane’s mom shoves me forward. I’m so out of my element, but I love it. I’ve never had a big family, or a loud family or a family from the Old Country. Or much of a family at all.
The kids follow Jane and I down a narrow stairwell which leads into a half-finished basement. There are toys EVERYWHERE. The house is a huge mess both upstairs and downstairs, its staggering and liberating at the same time. You could never make a mess or ever be expected to clean one up, in this basement! I love it!