Note: This photo was taken in Encinitas, CA, while my brothers and I were visiting our aunt and uncle. The time frame is accurate to Andy's and my approximate age in the following story.
"How would Daphne and Andy like to come down for a visit?" my Aunt Marge asked my mom. "They can take the train down. Just the two of them and stay for a several days."
At the time, my brother and I were probably 10 and 13, respectively. Of course we jumped at the chance to visit our aunt and uncle. They lived down south, in San Diego. New adventures in a new location.
The train ride was fun. Not too eventful. But fun.
Aunt Marge and Uncle Bill lived in a gated apartment building; in a small, but elegant living space. The fridge was full and the TV was turned on.
They had plans one night.
"Kids, Uncle Bill and I are going out for a few hours tonight. Will you be alright on your own?" our aunt asked us both, simultaneously.
"Yes," we both answered, politely.
Off they went. Headed out for a night on the town.
As the front door closed behind them, Andy and I immediately started antagonizing each other. We knew each others weaknesses. Scary stories and movies. We told each other gruesome tales and watched even more frightening shows.
Yet, we laughed, and kept reminding ourselves none of the stories were real.
Suddenly, and I am not sure why it happened, Andy felt sick.
Maybe it was because we just told too many, over the top, could be real life stories; or simply because we overate all the junk food we could get our hands on.
"I think I am going to barf!" Andy screamed.
"Hurry! Go. Go into the bathroom!"
He ran. Lickety split. And threw up, not only into the toilet bowl but everywhere surrounding it.
"Ugh! I feel gross!" Andy's face was red. His eyes teary.
"Ew!" is all I managed.
I walked him to the couch. Sat him down. Covered him with a blanket.
An hour passed.
"Hello. We're home!" Aunt Marge exclaimed.
"Oh, hi," I said. "Andy got sick. He threw up."
"Are you okay?" she seemed concerned, walked over to him. Felt his forehead.
"Yeah. Daphne was telling me scary stories. I guess they literally made me sick!"
I snorted. And laughed.
Not too loudly.
Aunt Marge walked into the bathroom.
"What the ____?!"
Well, she didn't really say a bad word, but she said something with a very mad tone.
"Why didn't you clean this up?!"
She was staring straight at me. The older kid. The one who should have known better.
All I could do was shrug my shoulders. Opened my eyes wide. Pinched my lips together.
I had nothing to say.
My mom received a phone call from her sister. My Aunt Marge. Later.
Minutes? Hours? Days? Later. I don't remember.
"Aunt Marge says she thinks you are a brat," she told me.
"Oh. Really?" I was actually surprised.
"You? A brat? That doesn't sound like you at all," my knowing mother stated, as a matter-of-fact.
"I just lack common sense," I guessed.
"She says no more visits for the two of you. That's it. Done."
Andy and I lowered our heads.
And then he elbowed me.