“So good to be back after so many yrs! ” I exclaimed,settling on the couch. “Not much has changed. Except, u’ve got a few grey hairs in that red beard o’ urs & u still don’t clean the driveway every winter, dad! ” I joked,as he sat next to me, lighting his pipe. “If u visited more often, u’d know that I threw my back out last month,son! ” he revealed in a gruff voice,glaring at me as he spoke. I felt uneasy. “So, Anne….is it ok if I call u Anne? ” Lavender asked. “Why? We’re not family.” my mum replied, rudely. “How about I give u a hand in the kitchen?” she asked,politely. “No,thanks. Alex already told me that u’re a terrible cook! ” mum replied. “Well, ur precious Alex is a liar! ” I told my proud mum. “Campbell! Don’t u dare talk about ur sweet sister like that! ” she snapped,wrapping her arms around a grinning Alex. “I meant, how about I give u a hand in doing the dishes? ” Lavender interrupted. “Ya think an ol’ lady can’t handle a few dirty dishes?! I don’t need yer help,lass! ” my overreacting mum rejected her offer. “U could help me unpack. I’ll show u my old room! ” Norman suggested with a grin.
Wow! This place is like a science lab, Norm! ” Lavender stared in wonder at the beakers, jars with plant specimens, mounted butterflies & other scientific equipment in his closet as she hung his clothes neatly. “I can’t believe mom kept my room intact with the Bill Nye posters & all! ” he muttered,excitedly. “Did u spend ur whole childhood locked in here? Didn’t u ever get out & play with ur friends or somethin’? ” Lavender asked,careful not to hurt his feelings. “No one played with me….Except Maggie.” he replied,almost whispering. “Who’s Maggie? ” she asked,moving closer to hear him better. “Margaret May Holland,my only friend & fellow science enthusiast.” he replied.


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