Whenever I would come down to visit, we would have sleepovers at our aunt’s house.
We played so many different games together. Our top three would be ‘daycare,’ ‘school,’ and our favorite by a landslide: ‘restaurant.’
We spent hours preparing to play ‘restaurant.’ We would make menus for our family members to use—they were our most loyal customers—and meticulously plan out our appetizers, main courses, side dishes, desserts, drinks, and daily specials. After they ordered their imaginary food, we would serve them the baby toys in my aunt’s play room for them to pretend to eat while they continued to talk about whatever adults talk about.
During the summer, we would spend hours everyday in our aunt’s pool; we would play mermaids and race back and forth. You would warn me when a wasp was among us, while I plugged my nose and plunged underwater until the coast was clear. We would do cannonballs, can-openers, toe touches, and peace signs as we jumped into the pool, having my parents and our aunt rate them from 1-10.
At night, we would always fight over the blankets. You always told me that I was the blanket hog, and I would always deny it. When we woke up, I would always have all the blankets, while your arm would be lying heavy across my torso.
When it was time to go to bed, we would always stay up for hours, catching up on each other’s lives. One topic that would come up repeatedly during my visits would be our futures.
Back then, all we were thinking about was middle school and high school. We talked about how one day, in the far future, you would get your driver’s license. We would talk about all the places we would go together.
We always said we would get milkshakes.
But things have changed since then. You are seventeen now, while I am seven days from fifteen. Instead of working thoroughly on our restaurant menus, we watch How I Met Your Mother and Criminal Minds together. In the summer, we play Uno with our aunt’s waterproof cards at the pool and sunbathe on the pink and blue floats.
We still have our nighttime conversations that last for hours. We still talk about our futures. This past spring break, during one of our talks, I was not-so-subtly hinting at the fact that a milkshake sounded delicious. All I wanted was to hear the words:
“Do you want to get milkshakes tomorrow?”