So this last weekend, my little sister came to visit (I say little still, and I will forever—even when we’re both old and wrinkled—because she will always be my little sister). It was such an incredible weekend, and so great to see her again! It’s such a rare treat with her all the way out in Victoria (BC), but every now and then she’ll get the chance to come back and visit us, and we typically use the time to celebrate all of the special occasions that have passed since we last met. So this time it was 2 Christmases, 4 aggregate birthdays (2 each for both of us), 1 Halloween, 2 New Years, etc. etc.
Well I thought we’d do it big this time, so I hired a limo service to surprise her, and also just to take the stress off of us for transportation for the whole evening. Typically we just jump into the festivities—I always make sure to tell her that it’s ok if she wants to take the night easy, since I would imagine she should be pretty tired after the plane ride, and she snorts at me and laughs “Don’t try to tell me what to do.”
She is young. And a maniac.
But I’m glad she has the energy. She’s usually only able to stay for a few days, and it seems like every minute is this rare currency that I feel like I’m hoarding.
So I showed up at the airport to meet her, and it was amazing to finally see her again. It’s so surreal to go so long without seeing someone that you love, and it’s always kind of overwhelming right away—just this blast of warm nostalgia and then a form of mild shock—this feeling of something so familiar and yet there’s this foreignness to the experience also, because daily life doesn’t make space for this person any more, and even if it did, we exists in separate places, physically. I guess this is growing up.
After a fierce hug, she made fun of me for being wet in the eyes. I got that from my dad by the way, who would get weepy from those old Kodak commercials—which, in his defense, can be pretty damn heart-breaking. Wow, just now remembering those “These are the moments” commercials and I’m thinking this must have been some kind of golden age of the dramatic ad (dram-ad-ic? I’m sorry please don’t leave).
So we grabbed her luggage and headed for the parking lot, and our limo was there, ready and waiting. Jess punched me in the arm and told me I did not and I told her I did, and at first I think she thought it was too much. She, to some extent (okay, to great extent), tends to evade extravagance. She’s a case worker at Island Health, currently living in a tiny house in this neat little community up there, and it’s absolutely gorgeous—everywhere you look, it’s ocean and mountain and these gorgeous huge firs and cedars. So she lives in this little 225 square-foot house, which I don’t know if I could do, but she loves it, because (she says) it makes you realize (remember?) that you live in the world, not apart from it. And so you spend all this time participating in a natural world outside of your house, and I certainly have days where I can feel that same allure.
But then she hops in the back of the limo and I can see her face light up, and I know it is a nice change of pace from the hours she just spent cramped up in that plane (plus, there’s wine for her and beer for me). It turned out to be a pretty amazing limo service. I didn’t have an exact itinerary going into the night, just planning to show off a few of my favorite bars on the north side, and the chauffeur was delightful and patient. And this was the first time using one in Chicago (Jonathan has his own car, and he doesn’t mind driving it, but it’s enough to make me lose my mind, plus I may occasionally display *slight* symptoms of road rage, so I avoid taking his car at all costs).
So when I made a request for a new bar, he’d get us there, we’d have a few drinks, then when we were ready to leave and forge ahead into new territory, the car would be there ready for us so it was a nice, relaxing night. And otherwise it was just nice to sit back and finally get caught up, to hear about Jess’ life, her little network of oddball friends, her backpacking adventures, her counseling work (emotionally exhausting, but so worth it), her love life and all the rest.
Suffice it to say, the night felt like a bit of a blur after a certain point. I showed off a few of my favorite bars on the north side—Jess is “getting into IPAs” (meaning there’s some hottie in BC who’s showing her the ropes) so we sample more than a few as the night progresses…I was certainly glad we had the limo at the end of the night, because both of us were pretty cashed, and it was nice to just be whisked home without thinking/navigating/remaining fully conscious.
As always, the weekend was over too fast, but it was perfect. We celebrated appropriately (gingerbread cookies for last Christmas, party streamers and a fierce contest of Mancala for our birthdays and of course a smattering of god-awful horror movies for Halloween), and I can’t wait to see her again. Next year, Jonathan and I are going to take a trip out to BC to see Jess on her turf, and, I imagine, stay in a tiny hotel? Is that a thing?
But for now, we’ve enjoyed enough revelry this weekend, generated a stockpile of stories to laugh about to fill the space and time until we see each other again.