The backyard swing emitted a comforting squeak as it moved in slow motion back and forth. A sad looking young woman and a contented cat had spent most of the morning there; one in serious contemplation – the other in deep slumber. Their reverie was broken by footsteps on the flagstone walk.
“Julietta?” her mother spoke.” Are you okay, dear?”
The new college graduate sighed and looked up. “Yes, Mom…I’m just trying to figure out some things.”
“Can you stop thinking for a while and take a break to eat?”
“Is Dad here?”
“No, he’s gone to the station to pick up Grandpa Alvin and Grandma Daisy.”
Julietta chewed on her lip as she accompanied her mother to the cheerful kitchen. She knew the fun and fireworks would start in a while.
After a few bites she pushed her plate away and picked up the cup of hot tea. “I’m sorry, Mom.”
“I know. You have a lot to process. The man you love is thousands of miles away. Your dad and I are just now coming to grips with the possibility of losing you to another country, and you’re worried about breaking the news to your doting grandparents.”
“You’re right, but you know how they are, Mom…especially Grandpa”
“The thing is, my darling daughter, the decision is yours and yours alone.”
When Julietta heard the garage door going up she put on a welcoming face for her two grandparent characters. Both of the octogenarians hugged her at the same time. She did adore them, but knew they would not be happy with her news.
While they were getting settled, Julietta slipped off to her computer. She lived for those e-mails from Roe. They had been writing for two years and had fallen in love before either one realized their friendship had taken a decidedly romantic turn. They were best friends. He made her laugh and think. He said she brought out a playful side he had lost for a time. Now he wanted her to meet his parents…in Australia. She lived in the middle of the United States of America.
Unopened e- mail from him always made her heart race.
Hey Jules…how’s it going today?
Being a fan of word economy, that’s all he had to say. She knew what he meant and replied as fast as she could type.
So far, so good, but I haven’t told them yet.They love me and want what’s best for me but I think this will be devastating news for them. I’ll report later. PRAY!
The good humor of her grandparents was already filling the house with musical laughter. They had more fun together than almost anyone she knew. The lovely young woman in love descended the stairs to tell them she wanted to move 12 hours away-- by plane. She dreaded their response.
“Come in here, Baby Girl, and tell us what’s going on with you,” her Grandfather shouted from the big rocking chair in the den. He was a little deaf and talked way too loud.
She sat on a footstool close enough to hold his hand. The room became uncomfortably quiet. She cleared her throat, ready to make her announcement.
“Gram and Gramps, have you heard about my friend Roe who lives down under?”
Grandpa Alvin frowned and yelled, “DOWN UNDER WHAT?”
Grandma Daisy had positioned herself on his other side to interpret if necessary. She spoke near his ear, “She means the other side of the world, dear.”
He looked confused. “You mean the North Pole?”
“Now Alvin,” his wife admonished, “Do you think she’s friends with one of Santa’s helpers or something? She means AUSTRALIA!”
Julietta slid off the stool and onto her knees in front of the old man. “No, Grandpa, that wonderful country that’s also a continent.”
“Hey!” he responded with great indignation. “Who’s incontinent?”
That broke the ice. While the others giggled, the young woman grabbed a paper and pen and wrote in big letters.
I’M GOING TO AUSTRALIA TO MEET A MAN I LOVE AND WILL PROBABLY MARRY. I WANT YOUR BLESSINGS.
Grandpa Alvin became very quiet. He reached for the note and turned it over to write something of his own. He folded it and told Julietta to read it in the other room. She ran to the kitchen, hoping for their approval, but determined to follow her heart anyway. No one moved until they heard a loud, “YES, YES, YES!”
The note read: CAN WE GO TOO?
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