It's mid afternoon as we traverse across grounds owned by an old family friend. I look over the well manicured lawn to their estate at the top of the hill. We are waiting for his children, Ty and Kris to arrive so we can commence the reunion. The brother and sister arrive in a white sedan. They haven't changed, yet have changed so much. A flash of memories recount our adventures. We retrieve our luggage from the back of our Taurus and make our way up to the main house.
Once unpacked, I take out my father's digital camera and replace the battery. I turn on the power only to see the images upside down on the display. I toggle the power once and the image corrects itself. I connect the camera to the large flat panel television and start to cycle through the images. They are images of the ocean from the back of a boat. I come upon a video stored on the camera and select "play." Immediately, the sound of gushing waves fill the room. The horizon bobs with the movement of the boat across the wake.
Something breaches the water, throwing itself on the deck. The large jaw, rows of sharp teeth, it is unmistakably a great white shark. It thrashes back drowning in air as the crew attempt to subdue it.
The video stops and I turn to my dad, asking him what I just witnessed. He nonchalantly responds that it was when he caught that shark, as if I already should've known this.
As with most reunions, the younger members end up feeling bored and we leave to explore. Kris finds some dry brush and sets it in the driveway. She takes a light and proceeds to light it on fire. I find this puzzling, but the inner pyromaniac in me finds pleasure in watching the twigs whither under the influence of the flame.
Sirens echo off the building. We look up in time to see a firetruck flying down the main road, followed by a caravan of police cars. We feel relieved when they pass the house and continue on. In the distance, I see another police car approaching. I quickly get up and stamp out the fire, but the cruiser pulls a U-turn and turns into the driveway.
The police car is large, my head barely coming up to the hood. Upon closer inspection, the vehicle looks to have been damaged and repainted several times. The doors creak open and both officers step out of the car. I notice that they have two holsters, one on the hips and another across the chest. In the hip, they both carry standard issue pistols. The holsters on the chest are empty with the words "For USA use only" stitched into them. They explain that it is for automatic weapons, but can only be used within the U.S.
The conversation turns to their car and the two officers tell us about the specs of the car. They open the hood and on our toes, we are able to see the engine. They tell us how the car was damaged. Sometimes it was in pursuit of a criminal, but often times it was also due to their own negligence.
Eventually the officers lecture us on fire safety and we all nod our heads, indicated that we understand.
I am in line at a food court when I seen some old friends. I see CJ with his new fiancée as well as some other old college friends. I am particularly excited to see Marie, a dear friend who I haven't talked to in over a year. I give her a hug and notice that she's holding on to me tighter than she normally does. She tells me that she's had a rough day and that she had to sign the papers that morning. I notice that there is no longer a ring on her finger. My heart sinks a little and I embrace her once again. I tell her that I'm sorry, but she says it is for the best. She says that she'll be in town for a month and asks if we could get together at some point. I smile and tell her that I would love to.
I also see Laura in line, a girl in several of my classes who was always nice to me. I want to say hi, but my friend needs me at that moment. I hear her talking to her friends saying that I probably won't even acknowledge her. I make it a point to say hi, even for a short moment before returning to Marie.
The line is for a taco buffet, however the plates are dirty and none of the portions make any sense. Eventually someone informs me on how to actually use the buffet. It takes me so long to figure this out, that most everyone I know is done eating and gone by the time I sit down.
I find a table in the corner and sit down. Once in my chair, I remove my pants. I think this is normal, even proper procedure, even though no one else is pants less. I get up with my cup and proceed to the beverage dispensers. My shirt is long enough so I can attain some form of modesty. I fill my cup and return to my seat.
At this moment it dawns on me that I should not have removed my pants. I attempt to reach under the table and retrieve my jeans when someone sits down next to me. I don't want to call attention to my situation, so I sit there, hiding my bare legs under the table.
Across the dining room, I spot two more people I used to have classes with. One of them is Sandra, a friend of Laura's who was in several of my classes. I want to say hi to her, but cannot due to my situation. The other person at my table gets up and I resume the task of putting my pants back on in an inconspicuous manner. I have them up to my thighs when Sandra gets up. I freeze, hoping she does not see me. She leaves with some other girls. I am somewhat relieved.
At least I can put my pants on now.
Listening to: Led Zeppelin - Tea For One