For Granddad & Granny
Bill & Sally Register
For always being the place we wanted to go to in the summer. It may have just been a farm, but for us it was a make-believe place where we could play and run and pretend we were anywhere in those bushes and ditches and barns. For making me watch the classic, “old”, and musical movies that I now cherish. For raising the good man I call my father who knows the importance of family. For staying together all these years and being an amazing example. The world isn’t always easy, but it’s those times when we’re tested that we’re forged in fire.
I waited for that day, for that one thing to complete me. To feel someone's heartbeat inside my chest and know that it was reciprocated. To find the one who belonged to me and could be the one to make me whole.
I still waited. I was a sophomore in high school. Graduating and heading off to U of T in a just two years so I could be an architect, just like Grandpa.
We just got back from the last reunification. Mom had taken fire for her new rule about the Visionary being able to work and have a day job rather than just…being the Visionary. They wanted her to be 'accessible' at all times and she warred on that she could be accessible and still work with Daddy at the centers as well. That's what cell phones were for.
So I watched as Dad was being extra nice and attentive by cooking dinner that night since, even though she was the Visionary, it sucked when people were against you and questioned your dedication.
Wanna know what else sucked? Being the Visionary's daughter. And the clan leader's daughter deducted even more points.
I loved my parents, don't get me wrong. They were great. Rodney and I both were pretty grounded. We went to the private school here and he played football while I played volleyball. I'd been working at the learning centers for Daddy for a year now.
I loved it, but planned to go work for Grandpa as soon as I graduated from college. Dad was fine with it. He of all people knew what it was like to want to be something, to have the fire for something.
I was fascinated by the thought that I could create something like that.
We used to travel around with Daddy's job, staying in a place for a couple months before moving on to the next place. It might not sound so appealing, but it really was amazing to live in all those states. We lived in New York, Washington, Illinois, Texas, and about fifteen other states. But, when I was almost in high school, they wanted us to settle down, so we moved back to Tennessee and Daddy bought Mom a big, beautiful red house with a wraparound white porch. Rodney's old fort made from wood slats was still in the backyard, though he hadn't been back there in years.
It was our home and I loved it, but also couldn't wait to leave it. My teenage heart was so fickle. But the one thing it wasn't fickle about was wanting my significant.
So, back to the part where I was waiting. Even though I wasn't of age yet, every reunification brought anxiousness for me. I was fifteen. Mom was only seventeen when she imprinted and since all the rules were being broken, I couldn't help but hope that I would imprint soon.
It was more than just wanting to have somebody, it was like this thing in my body was pulled just a little too tight. Just enough to annoy and bother me, but not enough to be painful. My significant was the only one who could make me feel normal. I knew it.
Dad tossed the noodles with the white sauce—Mom's favorite—and divided it onto four plates as our new puppy Mavis rubbed against my leg. Dad glanced up at me with a smile. "Put ice in some glasses for me, sweetheart?"
"Rodney. Rodney!" he called louder.
Rodney took his earphones out and looked at him. "Yeah?"
"Why are you cooking again?" he asked. "Mom's a way better cook than you."
"Hey!" Dad laughed and slung a noodle at him. It landed on Rodney's face and hair.
He jumped back like that would save him, but it was too late. "Dude!" he shrieked, his voice cracking with puberty as he swatted at his shagged hair. "Dude, my hair!"
Dad and I were laughing so hard, we could barely stand up as Rodney went on. Rodney jumped across the counter and stuck his finger in the sauce before holding it out to Dad. "You're gonna get it, old man."
I ducked out of the way, fearful for my own hair, and giggled by the fridge as they fought and wrestled. I felt Mom's hands on my arms and heard her laugh behind me. "Oh, my. Ava, what's going on?"
"Dad pulled the unforgiveable. He got noodles in Rod's hair."
She giggled and came around me with her blue silk robe on and bare feet. "Is all this for me?" she crooned sweetly, looking around at the mess on the counter.
"Mom, totally his fault." Rodney pointed at Dad shamelessly as he laughed.
"Oh, I believe you." She wrapped her arms around Dad's neck and wiped a smudge of sauce from his cheek with her thumb.
"You believe him over me?" Daddy asked, his voice changing like it always did where Mom was concerned.
She laughed, reaching up on her tiptoes and kissed him. "Thank you for cooking dinner. You didn't have to."
"I wanted to," he replied. His voice and eyes held a reverence that I'd always seen and heard about my whole life, but never experienced. "You earned it. You're such a good woman, and I know the reunifications take it out of you."
I had watched my parents for what seemed like centuries. The way they existed so effortlessly in each other's world and space. They could go minutes without looking away from each other. They kissed constantly. They hugged all the time, stole touches and wrapped their fingers around the other's wrist. I knew it was to feel their calm, to be wrapped in the little bit of bliss that their touch provided.
I felt like I was watching a real-life romance novel play out before my eyes.
"I'm okay," she told him and whispered her next words. "Thank you for this. And for earlier. I really needed it."
"Eew. Gross. Stop," Rodney said, hands up. He threw some forks haphazardly on the table. "Don't you see the way my ears are singed?"
Mom laughed. "I was talking about the bubble bath your father made me, you goober." She reached up again, kissing Daddy on the lips, but he reached around her and drew her in even more. I turned to fill the glasses. It was disgusting; they were my parents after all, but I was also envious. Things were still a little up in the air with the imprints and everything. It seemed that everything had gone back to normal for the most part, except there were no more age limits. You met them when you met them and that was that.