“Stick a fork in me… I’m done,” Harry said, leaning back in his lawn chair. He put his hands on his belly and closed his eyes.
Angela picked up his paper plate and tossed it into the trash. She sat down opposite of her brother and began to eat. The moment she took a bite of her hamburger, she grinned. It tasted so good. The bun was toasted just right and the meat juices dribbled down as she bit into her lunch.
“Why don’t we do this more often?” Harry asked.
Angela turned her attention away from her food and looked at her brother, who was now staring at her. She shrugged, chewing the bit that was in her mouth. She knew never to talk with food in her mouth, unlike her younger brother.
“We live within 30 minutes of each other. We should make more time to see each other often,” he said.
Angela swallowed while nodding her head. “I agree, but life is busy. And honestly, you never reach out to me. You only called me today to have lunch because your central air broke and you can’t stand the heat.”
Harry blushed, turning his attention away. “I’m sorry. I should be better about reaching out to you. I want to see you for the sake of seeing you too. I don’t mean to only come over whenever I need something.”
Angela snorted. She took another bite from her burger. Something else she had learned over the years in addition to not talking with food in your mouth was that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
Harry chuckled. “I know you’re purposefully not talking back because you don’t believe me.”
Angela, still chewing, shrugged.
Harry stood up from his chair. “I’ll prove it to you.”
Angela finished her latest bite. “How?”
He hesitated to reply. “Um… I don’t know exactly how I can do that. Do you want me to call you every day?”
“Oh, please, no!” Angela leaned back in her own chair and laughed. “Harry, I miss you, but not that much. We lived with one another for 21 years of our lives… I don’t know if I could take hearing your voice every day.”
He laughed as well and nodded. “Fair enough.”
Angela stood. She reached her hand over the table and took her brother’s hand in hers. “Joking aside, you know I love seeing you. I love it when you call. I would like you call regularly, sure, but it doesn’t need to be a daily thing. I want you to want to say hello to me. Not just think of me when you need something.”
Harry nodded. He squeezed her hand and cracked a smile.
“We had a hard year. We lost both Mom and Dad. I don’t want us to lose touch and I don’t want things to be weird between us,” Angela said.
“No, I get it. I agree with you,” Harry replied. “Aside from losing Mom and Dad, after my fiance broke off the engagement I’ve been feeling extra alone and distant.”
Angela turned away. Her husband had left her the year before. They were in the process of getting divorced. It was a long process so nothing was final yet. Luckily, he had moved out a while ago and let her keep the house. It was a clean break up, which Angela was thankful for, but it made it all the more hard. She wanted to hate him, but she just couldn’t.
“With everything that’s been going on with me, I haven’t exactly been the one to reach out to you as well,” she said.
Harry shook his head. “No, you called a few times here and there. I just never picked up the phone or bothered to call back.”
Angela sat down in her chair again and let out a sigh. How did their lives become like this? So many things had changed in just a year.
“Hey, you know what I wanted to ask you? I know you said you don’t want to hear my voice every day, but…”
Angela chuckled. “You know I didn’t mean that.”
Harry shook his head with a grin. “I’m going to lose my apartment. My landlord is a jerk and I told him I wasn’t going to renew my lease. But I haven’t found a new place to live yet.”
Angela frowned again and let out a sigh. “You wanted to come here and ask to move in with me, didn’t you?”
“No,” Harry replied quickly. “I was going to ask you if you wanted to find an apartment with me.”
Angela raised an eyebrow. She pointed to the house behind her. “Why would I need an apartment when I have a house?”
“I know he let you keep the house, but is the mortgage something you can do on your own?”
“I’ve been managing…”
Harry stared at her without another word.
Angela rolled her eyes. “Harry, this is a stupid conversation. I have a house. You have no apartment. Just move in with me and we’ll split the mortgage. You can pay rent to me. It’s most likely the same amount you paid at your apartment anyway.”
Harry smiled. “Are you sure? Do you mean that?”
“It’d be stupid to sell the house just to downsize at our ages. Besides, if I tried to sell the house now then I’m sure my ex would come back to haunt me. He’d say, if I didn’t want the house, then I should have just given it to him.”
Harry nodded. “So… it’s settled, then? I can move in?”
“Of course,” Angela said. She walked around to the other side of the table and gave her younger brother a hug. When she pulled away from him she said, “You’re just not allowed to talk every day.” She stuck her tongue out at him.
Harry laughed. “I make no promises.”