Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Welcome Basket

I first met Eliza the summer before our junior year and I hated her in .2 seconds. She was everything a normal 16 year old should be. And her family was everything a normal American family should be. Even her golden retriever was exactly like every ideal dog should be. It was even named Buddy. It was disgusting. And yet, despite their repulsive lifestyle, my mother had the audacity to sign me up as the welcoming committee. 

"But I don't want to welcome her." I protested as my mother shoved a basket full of assorted sweets into my arms.

"I don't care, it's what decent people do."

"I'm not decent."

"Well, you can pretend to be for 5 minutes, it won't kill you."

And with that the door was slammed shut behind me. The temptation to hurl the basket at it was strong.  All that stopped me was the thought of my mothers menacing face the last time I'd impulsively destroyed something. It was Christmas. And like every other Christmas there was an overwhelming assortment of holiday themed clowns. My mother loves clowns, they're every where in our house. And she has extras that she brings out for every season and minor holiday. I couldn't take the freaking clowns anymore. She'd brought home another one she found at some thrift store and it was the final straw. I picked up that stupid clown and glared defiantly at the others as I let it crash to the floor. Mother was not amused.

Eliza lived next door. I walked up her driveway and with a look of disdain at her pretentious welcome mat that was covered in paw prints, I rang the bell. Please don't let them answer. Please? But alas, the fates weren't on my side and before I could run the door swung open revealing miss perfect.

" Mom wanted me to bring you this," I said shoving the basket into her startled hands. "So there."

"Thanks, that's really sweet of you both!" The gratitude was sickening. 

"Yeah, whatever bye."

"Wait! Would you like to come in?" I was torn. I longed to be back in my room browsing aimlessly on the internet, but on the other hand in that basket were my Mom's famous peanut butter cookies. I love those cookies.

"Sure, I'm Amanda by the way."

"Great! It's nice to meet you, I'm Eliza." 

And then she stuck her hand out forcing me to awkwardly shake it. The nerve. 

I followed her through the front door, past her living room, and into the kitchen. After depositing the basket on the counter she ushered me into her room, leaving the delicious cookies behind. Damn her.
Her room was different than I expected it to be. In fact, it was kinda cool and annoyingly similar to mine. Her walls were covered with so many posters of my favorite band that they overlapped covering whatever wallpaper hid beneath. 

"Sweet posters," I said in awe. I had a lot of the same ones she had.

"Thanks, I love the Dreaded Roberts. Are you into them?"

"Definitely, I've been in love with them since Twisted Buttercups came out in '04."

"No way! Me too! I never meet anyone who's even heard of them."

"The world has no idea what it's missing. Have you heard their new single?" 

"Nah, I haven't had time. It was only released like an hour ago and I was stuck helping my Mom bake for your welcome basket."

"Lame, sorry. But we can fix that."

We listened to I'm Not Left Handed and all of Dreaded Roberts other songs until my Mom called me home for dinner. By that time I'd decided that Eliza didn't totally suck. In fact, we soon became best friends and have stayed that way ever since, even though her normal family with its lack of clowns still disturbs me.

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