I had a dentist appointment this morning (visits to the doctor and the dentist in one calendar year, Phil? Stop it!) Madison accompanied me because we had grand visions of hitting the beach afterward. Well, it rained. “It doesn’t look good, Mad,” I said. A light drizzle fell on us as we walked to the car. “But we don’t know what it looks like at the beach because we’re not there,” she replied. “We have to go there to see it.” It was a pretty strong attempt at going Heart of Darkness on me, but my stomach’s growl was louder and more urgent than any scream of an unknowable horror. “You hungry?” I asked. “Yeah,” she said.
You may already know that I have a soft spot for the Arby’s beef and cheddar sandwich. It stems from those glorious days when Arby’s solid five of them for $5.95. Matty and I demolished those and split a drink. We didn’t talk during this ritual. The only communication between us occurred when one of us would shake the cup to hear only the sound of ice. The cup holder would then rise to refill the cup with soda.
I told Madison about this family tradition today over lunch. “Really?” she asked. “Yes, would you like to try a bite?” I asked. “Sure,” she said. She took a small bite, then shook her head “no”. “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?” I said. I recorded the reaction and sent it to Matty. A few moments later, he replied with “What!? How dare she!” When I showed Madison, she laughed out loud.
The beach would have been nice, but in retrospect, our little lunch date was pretty great. We had a long conversation about our family and our extended family, the best parts of which are featured below.
“It’s weird,” she said.
“What is?” I asked. I lowered my sandwich.
“To be here without the twins,” she said.
“Oh, yeah. Mom and I say that all the time when we’re out without you guys,” I said.
“Really?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said. I put my sandwich down. “Whenever we’re out, if I hear a baby cry, I’ll look around for Cole or Avery. I don’t even think about it,” I said.
Mad laughed. She took a sip of her milkshake.
“This reminds me of summer 2014,” she said.
“Oh, yeah?” I said.
“Yeah. It was just you and me – but we actually went to the beach,” she said. She can’t always understand sarcasm, but whoa bebe, can she speak it.
“Hopefully the sun will be out on Saturday,” I said.
“Yeah, I can’t wait to go to the beach with the Higa family.” she said.
“Are you happy with your family?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” she said.
“Are you happy that you’re a part of the Higa family and the Pascua family?” I said.
“Oh. Yeah. For sure,” she said. She wiped her hands on a napkin. “The thing about the Higa side is there’s lots of kids. And the funny thing about the Pascua side is sometimes Momma and Papa speak to me in Filipino even though I can’t understand it.”
“They forget?” I said.
“Yeah, but then they remember,” she said.
“That’s okay,” I said. I crumpled my wrappers into a ball of foil, Arby’s sauce, and melted cheese. “Mom speaks to us in English and we can’t understand her.”
Madison laughed. “True dat,” she said.