May 30, 2008
She was officially done with her freshman year of college. She stretched, cracking her back, as she sat on her parent’s wide, white front porch, surrounded by her mother’s prized cockapoos, Paul, John, and Ringo. They were all sleeping lazily in the heat, which she herself was also enjoying. Summer meant old school friends, her dark brunette hair lightening and turning slightly red from the June, July, and August rays, a nice tan, and absolutely nothing to do except babysit her neighbor’s two four year old twins, Boo and Violet. After studying her ass off the last couple of weeks for finals at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, Aria was more than ready to kick it for a few months.
“Ar!” Sophia, her younger sister, shouted from inside the house. “Aunt Mimi’s on the phone!” Aria heard her sister’s heavy footsteps – everything Sophia did was loud, even though she was the tiniest girl in the world – cross over the hardwood floors and out onto the front porch, banging the door loudly behind her. Sophia’s face was cracked in a wide smile against her already tanned skin, long locks falling over her shoulders, beautiful at fourteen. Aria wondered briefly if Sophia had a boyfriend. She knew a couple seniors from high school last year that always said Aria’s sister was model material.
“What?” Aria asked, snapping back to reality. She reached for the phone. “Is everything okay?”
“Yes! More than okay!” Sophia twirled, as Aria raised her eyebrows. She stood bouncing before her sister, and Aria sighed, knowing her conversation with their erratic Aunt Mimi was not going to be a private one.
“Hey, Mimi,” She said, curling her leg under herself. She eyed Sophia, who was scratching Ringo’s head.
“How is my favorite college niece?” Aunt Mimi bellowed into the phone. There was beeping and yelling in the background, and Aria could only imagine what trouble she was getting herself into. Aunt Mimi had moved to France, and then Spain, in the last few years darting across Europe. Mom said it was because her younger sister didn’t have any kids of her own, so she filled herself up by travel and sights. Aria liked to think that Aunt Mimi was just in love with everything, and couldn’t sit still. If it had to be anyone, Aria would want to live her life like Aunt Mimi. Art, good food, ancient countries, various boyfriends – which brought along stories that she’d whisper to them when Mom wasn’t around – and just this richness that Aria had never been able to find at home.
“I’m good, really good. I’m just starting my summer.”
“So I’ve heard! What are your plans this summer? – Hey! No, no. Lo siento.” Her aunt called. “Sorry, Ar.”
“It’s fine. Nothing really, just babysitting. You? Are you coming home?”
“No, but I did acquire this lovely summer cottage in Arcos de la Frontera with Juan. I want you and your sister to come and spend some of June and July with me, if you can manage it.” Aunt Mimi burst. Aria glanced up at Sophia, who clearly heard their aunt yell, who was bouncing faster now. She knew Soph’s answer.
“Does Mom know?” Aria asked, excitement mounting.
“She said yes! So what will it be, Ar? A summer in Spain? You’ll be able to babysit still, for a few weeks..I don’t want to interfere with that. I was thinking we could maybe help get you work, if you want money. Juan knows a place where people your age work, a little cafe. And you’ll be home a few weeks before you go back to Jersey.”
“Yes!” Aria breathed.
She envisioned white, ancient buildings in her mind. Working in a chic Spanish cafe, with beautiful language bubbling around her. Her favorite aunt and sister.
“Yes.” She said again, because she liked the sound of the word.