Family Visits


"Pretentious? Moi?" ~ John Cleese

When I opened the door for him, we grinned at each other’s appearances. He was still in his work uniform, I was still in my domestic costume. I smelled like a cigarette butt, and he smelled like the butt of a car.

“I’m in the middle of a writing session, man.”

“I need to email my work report, mba.”

We huddled around the dingy coffee table by the balcony, from where we could watch the sunset. I pushed my papers aside; making room for his laptop. He jacked his wires and rolled up his sleeves. During the first hours of us hanging out in my house, my cousin and I ignored each other; posting ourselves as ideal candidates for the “Hostess and Guest From Hell”.

We started interrupting each other (“Dude, what’re you working on?”) -- around the time that a meal was due. Nobody politely offered or graciously answered (“Dinner?” -- “Exactly!”). We agreed by slapping our laptops closed and walked forth-and-back to the nearest diner (“Can I take the bill this time?” - “Sure, after I finish your dessert,”).

That’s when it was nice being with extended family and achievements didn’t matter and differences merely oiled the natural flow of words exchanged between us.

When respects were showed in absence of pretense.

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