What if falling in love could have disastrous consequences? Would you pursue it? Or would you see the necessity of sacrificing it?
Tuesday 10th July
“Hey, Jen, guess what?”
I glanced up from the book I was reading to see my sister Susanna standing at the door to my bedroom, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
“What?” I asked, my curiosity piqued.
She slipped into my room, pushed the door to behind her and planted herself at the foot of my bed.
“I really like this guy,” she said quietly.
Oh, it was romance-related. Suddenly I wanted to know as few details as possible.
Susanna was continuing.
“He’s another volunteer at the Cattery and he’s kind, caring, sensitive - and he’s only 20, so the right age, too. He invited me to the pub after our shift tomorrow and I really want to go. D’you think Uncle Mack will let me go?”
Feeling awkward, I replied “Probably. You are 19. But maybe you should invite Mindy too - so you’re not going out alone with him before you know you can trust him.”
Susanna nodded fervently.
“Good plan. I’ll text Joel first to ask if he doesn’t mind me asking Mindy, and then I’ll ask Mindy. If Mindy is available, I’ll ask Uncle Mac.”
“You do that,” I said, hoping it would work out if only so I wouldn’t have to endure Susanna’s complaints over the next few days.
“Thanks, sis,” Susanna said, smiling and rising to her feet. “See you at dinner.”
“See you then.”
She left, pulling the door shut behind her, the way I liked it when I wanted nothing but my own company.
I returned to my book, there being nothing of greater interest going on in the outside world for the time being.
Joel and Mindy evidently came through, since at the dinner table, Susanna asked permission to go out.
“Joel’s another volunteer at the animal shelter,” she told Uncle Mack. “He works at the Cattery too. He’s 20 and the kind of guy I’m sure you’d approve of - kind, sensible, mature... He’s invited me to the pub tomorrow - after our shift - and Mindy would be coming too. Please could I go?”
Uncle Mack looked taken aback, as though he would have consented on much looser terms - which he probably would have done. The detail of the arrangements satisfied me, the concerned younger sister, though.
“Yes, that’s fine, Sue,” he replied.
“Remember not to drink too much, though, if you’re driving home,” I advised, somehow finding myself in the role of ‘responsible relative’ which perhaps should rather have been our uncle’s.
“Sure, Jen,” Susanna said, still beaming. Sometimes I really envied her sunny character and the way she could be so delighted by the simplest things. Maybe that was what Joel liked about her too. I hoped there were guys in the world who didn’t mind an absence of such easy cheerfulness. Then again, I didn’t need a boy in my life at the moment. I had a great relationship with myself and any guy who wanted to take me on needed to be able to accept my weird and wonderful ways. Let Susanna enjoy whatever was to come with Joel. I could wait.