They see us rollin’
When we arrive at the house, everyone’s at home. It’s lively and full. We say our hi’s and pass by the pups, who are hollering-greeting us. Little L pops up from the banister. She comes downstairs, and I say hi, warmly, because I’m genuinely happy to see her, and give her a little hug.
They are making Filipino barbecue pork skewers on the kitchen island, grilling the marinated meat. A is grilling indoors; M is placing the pinkish meat on the skewers. The barbecue is intense, savory sweet, burnt.
We go upstairs, where there’s a giant teddy bear on one of the beds. I plop down.
Wanna play Roblox? She asks.
Sure, I agree.
She pulls up some games on the computer.
We end up chatting on the bed, I forget about what. Every time we hang out, it’s seamless. She used to be so small. At most functions, I end up befriending a kid who follows me around.
She’s like a mini me. She also has Procreate on her iPad, draws, plays a string instrument, makes animations, edits songs, wears matching glasses, and when I tie my hair into a ponytail, she does, too. She even meows like me and bursts into song at the kitchen table.
We go downstairs. I walk around and munch on the skewers. The three of us play a game of Rubik’s Race. She wins. I beat le beau as well. They run off to shoot the nerf gun, and I try, but can’t hold it properly and le beau goes, look at that posture. Like an academic.
Le beau, A and I decide to grab drinks. The store is full. We make old people jokes. We cart home maybe six different types of alcoholic drinks – beers and margaritas and more.
When we return to the house, everyone’s wrapping lumpia downstairs. Filipino spring rolls. For the next few hours, we sit around the table, rolling thin sheets over meat and veggie mix. Family from the Philippines dial in. Eventually, everyone gets tired of rolling, leaving le beau to finish the rest. It’s hilarious: he didn’t even want to roll, initially, and now he’s the only one rollin’.
L and I wander off to play with the nerf gun, taking turns to aim at each other. At this point, I’ve had enough to drink, and I’m swaying tiredly. Le beau comes over. I point out that beer is basically just sweet wheat so why don’t they call it sweet wheat? Because it wouldn’t sound as cool, he responds.
Then we run around the house and I shoot at him with the nerf gun. L is my minion and collects the soft bullets. By then, le beau and I are both tipsy turvy. We still are. Well, he is. We retire to our room around 2 AM.
May the fourth be with you
The sun sets as we set off to buy the fireworks. The six of us all pile into the car. L seems like a cool guy. He plays Tame Impala and I crane my neck to look out the back window and watch the sunset. It’s peaches and blueberries in the sky. I tell little L I’d like to look outside as she peppers me with questions. She tells me about ladybug sparklers and how they branch out into smaller sparklers and would I like to please choose some fireworks too?
We pull up to the fireworks booth that’s next to a gas station. Talk about situational awareness. There are all types of fireworks perched on shelves behind the three workers. They’re all souped up, vivid, skulls and boxes and rockets, very Chucky Cheese Arcade hello you’ve won three thousand points now come and exchange them for prizes.
We leave with $100 worth in fireworks.
At the house, we bring beers outside and le beau sets them off, small torch in hand.
There are more sparklers, quiet starts, sputters and spins than full blown fireworks. The most exciting one is the giant sno-cone styled one that L chose. It shoots off for a solid minute, pauses, spits more sparks, stops, fountain of light. We don’t trust it when it stops going off. A runs over to pour beer into it.
We briefly move to the backyard, facing the lake, watching neighbors’ fireworks as mosquitos nip at our legs. Everywhere, all night, there are constant resonant pops.
The real fast and furious
In the morning, I say, I want to go to an arcade.
In the afternoon, after watching Fast and Furious, it’s me versus A poised at the air hockey table. I’m laser-focused, so is he, and there are two—not one—air hockey pucks on the table, green, white and whiplash.
I had finished playing a round of shooting hoops with little L when I wandered over to the group, huddled around air hockey. Do you want to play against A? I say sure. I grab the white paddle, and aggressively slam the puck onto A’s side.
They scream. I infer he’s been unbeatable.The last time I played against le beau, it was summer of 2017, and I had played so hard, I broke the machine. A crime of passion. I’d sheepishly filled in the broken machine form and fortunately never heard from the theatre ever again.
1-1! The puck flies into my side. I hit back. Then I’m at two points. Three. Four. He catches up. We’re 3-4. Then 4-4. Then 4-5. Until we’re at 5-5, and someone has the brilliant idea to take the other table’s puck and place it onto ours. Twice the puck, twice the heat.
It’s exhilarating. Pucks are flying off the table. I’m spinning them so fast they’re ricocheting off the walls and so is A and I put my hand beside my back so I don’t get hit. The green puck bounces up the white puck, drifts off, flies into my side, his side, and we’re at 8-9, and we’re all yelling. My glasses fall off the table. Tensions are running high. They scream as we score. It’s fucking fantastic.
8-9. I’m one point away from winning. First one to ten points wins. I sling my winning shot and, as the puck clangs into his side, I throw my hands in the air, gorilla bellow in triumph, as he sends a puck into my end, two seconds too late.
In retrospect, the movie was neither fast nor furious. The real fast and furious was me and A this evening, hunched over the broken air hockey table, swingin’ pucks.