Time Warp

8:07 AM, sunlight streaming brightly through a window, filtered by trees. Am in niece’s fluffy white bed, surrounded by paraphernalia of teen-age girl’s life: stacks of paperbacks (A Beautiful Mind), her black-and-white pictures on the walls (niece is quite a talented photographer, I discover). She’s coming up from U of Penn on Friday, it’s all her fond mama can talk about this morning.

Yesterday, long long drives, from the city to my cousin’s home in Vienna (colonial houses festooned with icicle lights, trees) and back again to the city to bring my nephew and his best friend to a Wizards/Rockets (Go, Yao-ming!) game– it was exciting, the boys told us later. The Rockets won by one point.

In the van, listened to mostly 70s music, cousin seems to be on a nostalgia kick. To anyone who came of age in Manila in the 70s (and I realize I’m really dating myself, yikes!), these were the songs we danced to at parties, in discos (Oh my God, do those places still even exist today???):

Dennis Lambert’s “Of All The Things” and “Ashes to Ashes”
Friends of Distinction, “The Way We Planned It”
Carole King, “It’s Too Late” (with accompaniment)
Spandau Ballet, “Through the Barricades”, “True”
Toni Braxton, “Another Sad Love Song”
Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”
Patti Austin, “If I Believe” and “The Island”
Lani Hall, “Come What May”, “How Can I Tell You”

My cousin says she’s lonely, but her phone’s constantly ringing and her life is like a whirlwind rush from one engagement to another. It IS pretty quiet in this house, with woods in back, but I wouldn’t mind at all camping out here one summer, when she and her family are visiting in the Philippines, say, and trying to bang out a book.

After dropping off boys at the stadium, we had dinner at Jaleo’s. Too much traffic, cousin pulled off a tremendous illegal U-ie in front of a bus, people on sidewalk whistled and stared at her daring.”Who IS that crazy woman?” I heard one of them say.

Then I heard yelling, YELLING : “MARIANNE! MARIANNE! MARIANNE!”

WHO is yelling, I thought, stupidly, until I realized Marianne was actually ME. Turned, and there, standing on the sidewalk, bundled up against the cold so that all I could actually see of them were the upper halves of their faces, were Luis Francia and his wife. Hugs, smiles. Isn’t it great we see each other again??? So soon, too! They leap into a van, we enter the restaurant for tapas and a pitcher of sangria. Eat and eat and eat and drink and sip coffee and then it’s all over and back to the van for more 70s songs. After dinner we pick up the boys and head back home, more singing in the car, and then I try this new contraption called an ISqueeze which looks like a torture device for the legs and which clamps unbelievably hard and then squeezes your calf muscles up and doooown …

Quite a delicious and pleasurable experience, as everything on this trip has been so far …

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