on wednesday, we had some visitors here at the house of wan.
my mother's youngest sister, florida, and i have a long history together. there's only a six year difference between us, and we basically grew up together. she was eleven and i was five when she came over from the homeland, and we were BFF instantly.
as we grew up, we did damn near everything together. dodger games, family gatherings, watching our beloved soaps, going to concerts. she came along when my uncle gave me tickets to my very first one (olivia newton-john during her "physical" heyday, TYVM), and i went with her when she registered for junior college (and somehow managed to pass the eff out from heat exhaustion). she was a bridesmaid in my first wedding, and is one of the teen's two godmothers. in fact, she babysat the teen when i had to return to work, three months after she was born.
she was my sounding board and one of my confidantes during my crazy year of singledom. we were both constantly in chatrooms on AOL, which turned out to be quite a life-changing thing for her. as i was beginning my relationship with the now-hub, she met a guy online, and after weeks of constant IMs and e-mails, he flew out from his home in texas to meet her.
there weren't many of us who knew about it, and i was quite worried about her when she spent the entire weekend with mr. texas and never called home to check in. i was totally convinced that she'd been chopped up into a million pieces and stashed in her own trunk. but she came home eventually, with stars in her eyes, and i knew that things would never be the same.
at first, i was cool with mr. texas. but as time went on, and they continued their long-distance relationship, my original feelings changed to the exact opposite, and i was less than thrilled when they got engaged and planned a wedding. AND she was going to pack up and move halfway across the country after the nuptials took place. we're talking about a girl who'd never been very far from home without some sort of family support nearby, and i was worried sick about how that would work out. not my place, i know, but it's the truth.
part of the issue was that we were both big parts of florida's life. and while i was too stubborn to admit it then, i was resentful of the fact that mr. texas, who i already didn't like for a multitude of reasons, was taking my best friend away from me. there, i said it. i realize how immature that sounds. and as for him, i'm pretty sure that he didn't appreciate my influence on her, especially since i wasn't one of his biggest fans.
i was the maid of honor at the wedding. and during the long break between ceremony and reception, a bunch of us gathered at a bar and got the par-tay started. i was nice and warmed up, and gave one hell of a MOH toast. i don't remember exactly what i said, but i know that i managed to convey my true feelings while disguising them as a sentimental, teary speech. i seem to recall uttering the words "if you hurt her, i will hunt you down," with a fake ass smile on my face. i'm still hoping someone's got that shit on video, so that i can watch it one day. anyway, as i walked back to my seat, the groom muttered "i'd like to talk to you later on, if that's okay." heh. apparently, my words weren't lost on him.
but too bad for him, he waited WAY too long to take me aside for that little chat. in the meantime, i got good and wasted - or should i say "toasted"? - on peanut butter & jelly shots (equal parts of frangelico and chambord) with my cousins, and during the dollar dance got up and joined the line - not for the groom, but to dance with the bride.
all i remember of our "talk" is a lot of inebriated screaming, crying, and yelling, right outside the banquet room in the hallway. florida came out once, after being told to check on us by my gram, but she stayed far away and let us have at it. my cousin and his then-girlfriend walked by a number of times, grinning their asses off, and i don't even remember what the hell the hub was doing. anyway, i finally walked away, went back inside, made a beeline for florida, and gave her a huge drunken hug, telling her "if he EVER hurts you in any way, you just CALL me. i WILL come and GET you, no matter what."
i can't stop laughing at the memory, even as i type this. don't get me wrong, i meant every word, but i so wish i could have seen myself that night. i must have made quite a spectacle of myself, mascara'd tears streaming down my face and purple streaks of peanut butter & jelly shots all down the front of my pretty blue dress. i wonder if i have any pictures of that.
after getting settled in their texas apartment, it wasn't long before they caught pregnant. little flo was adorable, and looked just like my aunt. then mr. texas' job relocated them to orlando a few years ago, where they've lived ever since. and little rida was born a couple of years after that. until this week, i'd only seen her once - when she was only months old, during their trip home for christmas in '05. that visit is a story in itself, but we'll leave that for another time, yes? and despite my [obviously misguided] concerns, they've been happily married - at least, that i know of. and i'm glad she's happy.
anyway, this is their first visit to soCA since then, and i was amazed at how much the girls had grown. florida pulled up in their rental car (sans mr. texas), along with my gram, and we had a nice visit with them before they left to meet up with more family members for dinner.
they took turns sitting on the teen's lap, who was highly amused at their antics. no, really - she thought they were cute. that's not sarcasm.
little flo is STILL the spitting image of her mother.
the bean was more than happy to share her toys.
the visit went all too quickly, and they boarded a plane the next day, headed for home. i hope it isn't another three years before we get to see them again.