Going to the airport to meet Can-Can was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences in my life. Midnight got to listen to me debate over whether I should meet her with flowers or not. “Just buy the fudging things already.” Midnight grumbled the night before Can-Can was due to arrive in our rental home. Because of our rank we were able to rent a small house right off base so we wouldn’t have to live in the barracks. We thought we were getting a good deal with it being completely furnished and so close to the base. But little did we realize was that half the command had the same idea and all of our neighbors also were also military, which made mornings and afternoons a pain from the mini traffic jams that would occur.
Outside the smell of charcoal grills and meat from across every other household drifted in the opened window along with the sound of the weekend beginning. We had made small talk while playing various games that we’ve played at least a hundred times before as we hung out in the living room before Midnight had to go stand his watch later on that night. He was not at all happy to find out that Wisteria was clubbing her weekends away in Briocheporte. “If you get back together with her like you always do then I’m sure she’ll probably stop.” I said cutting to the quick of his troubles but like always he didn’t listen or like my advice as Midnight always seemed to quickly ignore it. As he just went on to ask dejectedly “You think she is out dancing with other guys right now?”
“Probably. You did after all break up with her so she is indeed single now. And as we all know there ain’t any law against asking a single girl to dance.” I replied tired of the same old, same old conversation. All through junior high, high school and now as adults I had to listen to their ongoing drama, it was time for a change. Midnight sighed wearily as he got up to leave but not before giving an answer to my menial problem. “Just get the flowers. If things do work out then she’ll always remember that you brought her flowers when you first met her instead of ‘He just picked me up at the airport’”
Never had I been as nervous before as I stood at the gate waiting for Can-Can to debark from the plane. The drive over to the airport I tried to shake those nerves away. Being nervous about well anything wasn’t my style. I preferred to calmly go with the flow of things, to let the chip fall where they may without no regrets. But somewhere in the mists of our late night marathon phone calls and letters that were scribbled to her during my downtime, I found myself trying to spin everything in my direction instead of whatever direction they might take on their own. Being more forth right than normal I made suggestions like her coming out here.
Who suggests something like that? To someone they haven’t even met yet in person? This whole thing was crazy. I thought to myself as I waited holding the flowers that I had bought from Midnight’s advice. The intense heat had dried the ends of the tips before I had even reached the door in the short walk from my car. I was sure that they had welcomed the air-conditioning as much as I did as the doors slide open and I felt a gust blow out. Now though I was waiting as everyone flowed pasted me greeting by their family and friends or probably just trying to make their connecting flight. I almost given up hope that she at the last minute had decided not to come, that maybe she had been thinking too like I had that this was crazy. I thought about leaving and just going back to the house but a cotton candy blue and pink haired girl with an anxious smile erased any doubts that I had. “Porfirio?” a voice thick with a creole accent questioned almost uncertainly like I would at any moment deny who I was and just walk away.
“That uh that would be me.” I said with a nervous smile that probably could have mirrored her own upturned corners of her lips. Here we were two adults that had spent the last few months talking to each other probably more than we talked to anyone else in our everyday lives, now standing facing each other like two middle school kids at a dance. So I presented her with the pink flowers while saying “I got these for you.”
“Aww that’s so nice of you. You really didn’t have to.” She said shyly as she took them from me, a complete one 180 from the girl I talked to all the time and I don’t know why but her acting about as shy and nervous as I felt made me smile just a bit more than I was before. Her hair was done neatly a stark difference from the photo she sent me of herself where it seemed so wild and free like her personality I had gotten to know over these past few months. Taking the flowers back to hold for her and her arm as I lead the way I asked “So you ready to start your Spring break with me?”
Over the next few days we did some sightseeing taking in everything that this glorious city had to offer. I was almost disappoint that I had never really taken the time to do it before but seeing everything first hand with fresh eyes for the first time with Can-Can was even better. There were tours at the tombs that lay out a few miles away from the bustling Metropolitan city. But I think that we spent that most time hanging out poolside together. On my part it might have been an excuse to see Can-Can in her bikini. Though she didn’t mind going and even suggested heading there herself claiming that she just wanted to spend the day relaxing.
On a quiet night that seemed to have more than a chill in the air than usual we sat barefoot outside clad in some heaver wear. The power had gone out not even an hour ago unexpectedly giving us an excuse to relax without any modern technology. In the patch of grass that we called a backyard we hung out looking up at the stars. They glistened in the sky as I nervously rattled off something about the farther you are from civilization the bright they seem, reiterate a few times that I had spent out what seemed like the edge of civilization. It felt like everything from the first letter to our first phone call to the hug in the airport just a few days ago had been leading up to this.
Her hand was just a mere few millimeters from my own but still close enough for me to feel the warmth that radiated off of it on crisp night. Nights like these always made me think of Fall when my mother would even though the temperature would barely drop make all sort of apple dishes and ciders. Our home would smell of apples, cinnamon, other spices and things that most of my friend’s parents would buy air fresheners to replicate those scents. I might have mumbled something about this while we sat together looking up at the stars, anything but to look directly at her and let the conversation stop. I could have kicked myself for feeling nervous about what I knew was going to happen next. It’s not like I had never kissed a girl before, I had had a few girlfriends though none had seemed to appreciate my go with the flow attitude when it came to relationship statues. It’s not that I wanted to date other people like they always seemed to thing. If it was going to be serious then just let it be serious, labels were just words and they didn’t define how one felt about another. But now as I stole a few glances at Can-Can while listening to her talk with that Creole accent heavily salting her words I found that label looking quite tempting. Just the same as her broad and abundantly colored cotton candy pink lips seemed to call my name... Oh wait she really was saying my name “Porfirio? Hey? Is everything ok Porfirio? You’ve got that lost look on your face that your sister gets every so often like reality be damned as you’re trapped somewhere in your thoughts.”
“Not thoughts as in plural but just one, one singular thought.” I answered as I let the tide push me toward her as much as I willed it myself. Her lips were soft while I pressed my own against them as I kissed her. With enthusiasm Can-Can returned my kiss before we both pulled away at the same time. “I have been waiting for that this whole time I’ve been here.” She said breathlessly with wide eyes and a smile curling on the corners of her mouth making my want to kiss her again.
But I didn’t. At least not right away that is. In a husky voice I asked “Would you be my girlfriend?”
After Can-Can and I started dating it was only a matter of time before the inevitable subject of meeting the parents came up. The original plan was that I’d take leave again and fly into my hometown with Midnight since he and Wisteria just started dating again. After a few days at my parent’s house we would take a drive to her hometown of Black Tea Hollows for me to meet hers. But sometimes things just don’t work out and that Summer I didn’t get to meet her parents like we had planned. I’ll never know if it was just a simple error, perhaps after an all-nighter or if it was because someone didn’t know what they were doing. It was supposed to be a simple training exercise something that we had done many times before when we were still wet behind the ears like some of the new recruits that had just transferred in.
Midnight had been talking about my sister again but this time it was different from all the other times I had tuned him and their relationship out. The other day he bought a ring out in town and was planning on proposing to her after we had gotten back home. I knew that day had always been inevitable but I was kind of excited in having my best friend become my brother. Growing up in a house full of girl it would have been nice to have another guy around besides my father but my parents decided when Indy and Starry were little not to have any more children for some reason. The last thing I remember was congratulating him before reaching for my canteen when suddenly I was on the ground and the smell of fire seared through my nose as I fought to breathe before everything went black.
When I woke up I was in the base hospital and the doctor didn’t seem surprised to see me. With an unconcerned air he told me that I was basically fine though with a few bumps and bruises, some minor cuts. Over vague details from him a picture slowly began to form in my head what had happened and I was just lucky to barely sustain any damage from it.
Midnight however was a whole different situation, he wasn’t waking up right away like I had. Hooked up to a number of machines he seemed to sleep peacefully. After answering numerous questions and giving my statement I was cleared and released to go on my leave. Wisteria had no way of knowing what happened only being his girlfriend there was going to be no one letting her know besides me. This was something that I couldn’t break to her over the phone. Wisteria would flip out and be a complete mess, crying and chewing out everyone that came in contact with her. So instead I still took my flight two days later with the plan that I would explain what was going with him and she would accompany me back to Setra. Once we were back there Wisteria would stay at my house while I was her go between for getting on to the base so she could at least visit Midnight. I tried to sleep during the long never ending flight before my next connecting flight but the empty seat next to mine was a reminder of the news that I was about to bring my twin sister. At least this way she’ll be able to see him. I rationalized to myself as I hoped that Wisteria would see it that way instead of me keeping it from her for the past couple of days.
When the second plane finally landed I nervously shuffled behind the rest of the passengers. The couple in front of me talked about heading to the beach later on after they checked into their hotel room while the family ahead buzzed about seeing some family members that turned out to live down the street from my Aunt Candy’s house. Unintentionally I focused in on their conversation and by the time we had exited the plane and were walking down the corridor I realized that they were related to a guy that my younger sister Indy had dated a few years ago in high school. I vaguely remember him having an older brother my age that had been sent to military school. We were never really friends so I didn't know him or his family well but it helped take my mind off of things.
There was no one behind me, I was the last in the corridor and I could see Wisteria’s face as she realized that when I walked through the set of doors into the terminal. This was something that she was not expecting. What she expected was Midnight to come off the plane with me and wrap his arms around her as he would spin her around, dizzily kissing her all over her face as she half heatedly protested them before they would fall over. The two of them being complete showoffs with the PDA to the untrained eye that didn't know them well enough to know that just how Wisteria and Midnight were with each other whther there was anyone around or not. But that wasn’t what was happening instead only her brother was walking off the plane and the man she loved through a tumultuous relationship was miles away nowhere to be seen. A visible barrage of emotions quickly passed through her before she shook them off as she tossed her hair exasperatedly in typical Wisteria fashion. But the stammer in her voice as she tripped over Midnight’s name gave away her nerves. “Figgy where’s M-midnight?”