Chapter 11 – An Apple a Day
As I was sitting with my mother and father and we seriously discussed what we were going to do about Mee-Mee in regards to me keeping her, Mee-Mee was on the floor to my left looking around, at us, and licking her paws. I was able to finally convince my mother to keep her, despite any & all previous requisition she had about having a cat in our old household do to it, possibly, damaging the house. Though, she warned me that the first damaged piece of furniture would result in another family ‘discussion” about what to do with her. But, it didn’t matter to me. My mother let me keep her, and even better, she preferred her to be kept in my room as much as I wanted and as much as humanly possible in order to further avoid her from being in the living room. “This ‘part o’ yer birrrthday present. Yah, here?” My momma said with a serious look which, then, grew into a smile. I was so happy as I heard Mee-Mee’s “Meow” after our conversation and she looked up at me. I got to keep her. She was officially mine.
My birthday was always 5 days before Halloween on October 26th. Every year my family would BBQ with my Nan, uncle, any relatives that could come by, and some cousins of mine, whenever, they rarely visited the state of Georgia. This year, however, I got the ability to actually have my first birthday party with friends! Or, at least I thought they were my friends, anyway.
Being that my birthday fell on a Monday this year of 2020, we decided to celebrate it on the 25th on Sunday with anyone that I wanted to come from school. My PaPa agreed to throw a BBQ like he always did at our old house, despite, the chilly weather that was already settling in. Whoever came, could either sit outside on the patio at the table, sit around the fire pit in the backyard, or inside if it was too chilly for them.
My parents eventually had to be told about the Iphone XR that I was given. And, it was an absolute ordeal & debate with them. It was so difficult for me to try and tell them how I got it. And, also NOT tell them exactly how I got it at the same time. I kept my promise to Sascha Konovski. I didn’t tell a soul who gave it to me, which only raised more suspicions from my parents & Liam as to what the real deal in my life was. They knew I was hiding something & they didn’t like it one bit. First, my dad didn’t like that I accepted such a gift. Then, he didn’t like that I wouldn’t tell him who gave it to me. But, finally, after a 1/2 hour talk with him in his car, he said, “Alahght, Imma make you a deal. If yu’ here promise me there’s no dark funny bunny business goin’ on with that phone, we’ll head to T-Mobile tonight and I’ll get you a plan for this month to try the whole thing out…” He said raising an eyebrow as he drove the car with me to the supermarket.
I looked down for a moment as he drove, “Okay. PaPa, Ah’ promise.” I said. I mean that was true… right? Right??
Liam was the one who I give full credit to in regards to thouroughly teaching me how to even use my phone. Lord, bless him for his patience. We were in his room for almost 2 hours, 3 days after Sascha gave it to me. He was patient, persistent, & adamant in correctly versing me with how the entire thing worked, operated, & was built. He taught me, the web, googling things, texting, downloading music, youtube, Netflix, the App Store, what the best apps were, how to get them, etc. He set up my Email account & Apple ID, which was MeeMee21@gmail.com.
“Mee-Mee?” He asked me with a questioned look as though it was a little weird.
“Yeah.” I said with a dreamy smile, thinking of her. “She’s mah Kitty.”
“You have a cat?” He asked me.
“Yeah.” I giggled at the fact.
“Hmmm. I guess, I never knew. I mean, I never even been to your place, yet.” He said, as he finished updating my XR while we sat on his bed, face to face.
Feeling nervous about finally having him meet my family I said, “Well….” I started, then, stopped as I recollected my thoughts to try and figure out exactly how I should say what I wished to say. “My birthday’s next Monday.”
His eyes looked up at me from concentrating on whatever he was doing on my phone. Then, he smiled, “Aww. Happy Birthday.”
“Thanks.” I smiled, then, I said, “Mah family’s throwing a BBQ party on Sunday if you wana come.” I invited him.
“No.” He said annoyed. No? That cold response struck my heart like a knife that had just been taken from the freezer to coldly stab me.
Then, he stared at me and, suddenly, began to tickle my belly.
“…Hehehe. Hah! HAHA. Oh my God. Stopp!” I said as he tickled me until I couldn’t breath.
Then, he said, “…Just kidding.”
“Hey!!” I texted my ‘whatever he even is to my life, anymore.’
“Who’s this?” I got back in response.
“It’s Billy. 😛” I responded.
“Ohhhhhh, this is ur number? Sweet! Hiii.” Sascha said to me in return.
“Thanks again. I really love it!” I told him.
“Your welcome. Least I can do.” He responded.
“You know something cool?” I texted him.
“No. What?” He asked.
“The best part is when I text everyone, I’m the same.” I said.
“What do you mean?🤔” Sascha questioned.
“When I text, I’m the same. It’s my favorite part of my phone. I don’t sound different than anyone else, anymore. I don’t have an accent. It’s gone. Everyone understands me. I’m the same.” I said. He didn’t respond for a second. “Hello?” I texted him again.
“I guess I never thought of that.” He texted back.
“Yeah! And, see these ‘Emoji’ things when you hit the happy face on your keyboard? I love em!💎📜👻🎃♥️🧐💕😐😛😌💋🥀🍰” I texted.
“Hehe. Yeah.” He said.
“Yeah😋💗💗💗☕🍎🍎🍎🍎 LOOK an apple.” I texted him, happily.
“Okay. You don’t have to use them all the time…” Sascha said.
“But, I like em! They’re cute. 🦃🐳🐡🦑🥕🥒🥜🍑🎂🥧🥧🥧💕💕💕”
“😪” Was his response.
“Heyy. You have the same phone as me! Cool.” Jessica said at lunch as we were all eating after I had texted Sascha earlier that morning for the very first time while I was eating my breakfast after I had gotten ready for school.
‘Heh. Oh yeah.” I said smiling. We had the same gold & glass back color, too.
“You should really put a case on it.” She said.
“A case?” I never really thought of that, however Sascha DID mention to me he, once, had a case on it and I took notice of Jessica’s Pink rimmed case with a clear back. “Oh.” I looked at Liam.
“I’ll help you find one.” He whispered in my ear.
After I gave Jessica, Sarah, Donny, Liam, and Jamie my number and saw them all happily put it into their phone contacts, I looked over and peeked at Jesse Bradford who was keenly, but, carefully peeking at me every once in a while. Hmmm. That was new for him. He was being more ‘careful’ and subtle, now. He probably smelled some action steaming up about everything that he and I had hidden up our sleeves about our ‘past’; he probably heard, saw, or felt that the school staff or some students were onto him & what was going on and what had happened in the past. So, he hid in the grass just like a snake would in order to protect itself and strike another day… in another way.
After I had texted everyone about my party and they all agreed to come, I was beyond ecstatic. I couldn’t believe it. I had friends…. MY friends were coming to MY party for MY birthday. It might seem like a normal event to most kids, but, to me, it was the final U-Turn of my life. It was the ultimate social turning point that I would ever have. It was the 180° flip that I needed in order to begin perfectly molding into a teenager. It was the frosting on the very top of the cake to my life. It made me feel & become socially complete as I turned 14.
“Can’t wait to meet your folks🤳🏻 Oh, and I found a cool case for your phone I’ll text you the link on eBay and you can pick a color if you like it. Cool?” Liam texted me.
Reading that made me literally feel like I had to use the restroom, even though, I really didn’t have to. Oh, God…. He’s actually going to MEET my very own family. It felt like I was preparing to go up on stage for the School Talent show in my underwear on purpose as a part of my act. I felt sooo ‘watched’ and on the spot.
“Yeah. Me too.” I texted back with a nervous jitter of my arms as I held my phone.
Then, I got an idea.
“HEY.” I texted my ‘frienemy.’
“Hi. What’s up.” Sascha responded.
Being a bit too excited and forgetting a little bit about his ‘moves’ that he had inflicted on me the last time he was at my house from being on the High of having other friends from school come over my place for my birthday, I texted. “CAN YOU COME TO MY BIRTHDAY PARTY?!!🍰🎂🧁🥳🥳”
“…You know I can’t do that😐😠” he said.
This made me frown and instantly text him, “Why, not!? You already been at my house.”
“Remember, what I SAID? You can’t let anyone KNOW you and I are… cool or whatever. You better not fu++ this up or I’ll personally beat your a++ myself! Plus. Helllooooo Liam’s gonna be there, too. I bet. Sure, Billy. Put us both in the same room and see how long THAT’S gonna last before some crap blows up.” He said. I felt so MAD and sad realizing that everything he just said was true. Liam would be beyond mad at me and probably even ruin my birthday if Sascha was there…. Whew. That was close. Good thing I texted Sascha first.
“I’m sorry. I forgot.” I texted sadly.
“Yeah… It’s okay. Remember ‘we’ don’t exist🥧By the way, I never DID tell you. But, I really loved your pie. It was the best. And, it looked really cute.💕” He said. Hearts? Hehe. He put HEARTS in his text to me? Awwww. I don’t know why, but, seeing those hearts made me flirtatiously giggle to myself. Sascha WAS cute, after all.
And, I then remembered when he tried to actually kiss my very own lips with his own! Why didn’t I let him? He’s beautiful. At least I thought he was. My cheeks turned red from the romantic thought of me finding another boy ‘beautiful’ as I texted him back.
“Oh, thanks.” I texted him back in response to his compliment.
“Happy Birthday to youuu. Happy Birthday to youuu. Happy BIRTHDAY, dear, Billyyy. Happy Birthday to youuuuu.” Everyone sang to me as my cheeks were redder than my old Apple Orchard’s apples, themselves.
I blew out my candles as everyone clapped and smiled at me. Donny ran up to me and hugged me.
“Happy Birthday, Billy.” He said sweetly. “This for you.” He gave me a little gift bag which held a Vanilla Visa gift card for anything that I wanted.
“Oh, thanks” I smiled at him.
“Maybe, we can all go to the mall sometime this week.” Sarah said as her and Jessica gave each other wicked grins. What were they up to? I thought.
Everyone came to my party who said that they would and each of them brought me a present. Most of their presents were cash or gifts cards, which made me think of an idea that I had on what I was going to do with them, later. It was so much fun to just have my schoolmates at my own house. I thought I would be nervous. But, I wasn’t. I was just full of jitters, joy, and excitement. I was actually happy. They all loved my Dad, Mom, and, especially, Shannon.
“God, he’s soooo cute” Sarah said speaking of Shannon as we were outside toasting marshmallows.
“Heh. Thank ya.” He said in response giving her his angelic smile as his hair blew in the wind.
My daddy BBQ’d like he always did back home and displayed an assembly line of good ol’ Southern hospitality meats, brisket, pulled pork, hamburgers, and hotdogs, with the sides of potato salad, grilled buttered corn, cornbread(my favorite), and some grilled veggies for everyone. Not only did my friends, particularly Liam’s best friend, love the food, but, they all acted like a part of my own family, in some strange & surprising way to me. It was like they all already knew each other.
I was even happier that my parents liked Liam and complimented him when they asked what his father did for a living and discovered his family’s Veteran history. This granted Liam respect from them and my mother, especially, approved of him of being my friend, calling him a “Strong, handsome, young man.” when talking about him as a good friend for me to have in a private conversation that I overheard her have with my father. She described him as a good boy & a good example.
Liam got me a pair of wireless headphones for my birthday to go along with my Iphone.
“Here.” He said with a grin. “I TRIED to get your case by today, but, it was too short notice. It’s coming, though. But, I got you these headphones for your phone for your music and stuff. They’re good. I have the same ones.” He said. Music? He didn’t know, yet, that I rarely even listened to music or even knew much about modern music at all.
“Oh…. Thanks.” I said.
We stood there awkwardly while no one was around, not knowing quite what to do or say, next. It wasn’t a BAD silence, just, a gap. It was an empty hole that we couldn’t quite figure out what exactly we wanted or felt like should be filled with. We wanted to do or say something, but, couldn’t do or say anything. It was just empty. It was just a pause. It was… Blank: it was like a question left unanswered on a final exam. It was nothing.
“You’re welcome.” He said.
We were, then, interrupted by the sound of the sliding door that lead to my backyard open from outside.
“Hey, guys. You’re dad’s putting the food away. If you want anything else, he said to come out.” She said to us.
“Coming.” Liam said and walked away as I just stood there.
At 9:30 that Sunday, evening of my birthday party on October 25th, 2020, my friends from school all left to go home. After they did, my father sat me, Shannon, and my mother with him at the table as we picked at my triple chocolate birthday cake. Chocolate was always my favorite food, so, I HAD to pick this one when I saw it at the store.
“Now, I wanted to wait for your friends to leave before we gave you our present.” He said to me. All of the sudden he pulled out his phone. But, it was a black Iphone 11. And, he casually texted me.
“Happy Birthday.🎂” My father texted me.
He and my mom got phones, too! I couldn’t believe it. And, it came with a package deal that got Shannon an iPad. Shannon almost screamed from holding it for the very first time. This meant that my dad subscribed us all to a 2 year permanent family plan. It was a deal that had now been officially sealed.
“WOW. Cool, PaPa!” Shannon said with a boyish smile as he held it with wide eyes and his tongue out, almost as if he was going to eat it and it looked delicious. Hehehe. He sure liked his iPad.
“You actually GOT ’em?” My mother said to him as he gave her the bright red Iphone 11 that he picked out for her.
“Of course I did.” He said, casually.
“But, with everything going on, the new Orchard, and us having to prep for the Halloween Festival Opening, how did…. How much did you…” She said, but, was interrupted by my father’s hand being put up to silence her in the air.
“All taken care of.” He said.
“Really…..” She said to him, almost, not amused or believing him.
“Really.” He said with a smile. “I’ve had money saved up for a long time, now, for emergencies.”
“This isn’t an emergency.” She said.
“It’s alot of money.” He informed her.
She widened her eyes. “And, just WHERE have you been keeping this ‘stash of cash’ in?” She asked him.
“Ah. Ah. True pirates never reveal where their treasure is buried.” He said to her with a malice behind his eyes.
“Ah’ hate you, sometimes. You know that?” She said annoyed and smiled as she pecked his cheek. “This hot red does match my new dress.” She said to him grinning.
“Besides…” My father started. “I saw the Apple logo and I just couldn’t resist.” He said with a grin and winked at me.
I looked at him, smiled, & winked back.