“I’m soo bored,” Gaia said stretching out on the carpet like a starfish, closing her eyes tightly. She moved her arms sideways, hitting me in the leg.
“Me too,” I said, kicking her to make her stop.
“What can we do?” she asked rolling over onto her tummy and looking up at me from the floor.
My eyes were on the tablet in front of me, but I didn’t need to see her face to know her expression. I paused the game and sighed.
“Well what do you want to do?” I asked tossing the tablet next to me on the sofa.
She blinked. “I really want to play with our friends and get ice-cream.”
“We can’t do that Gaia, remember?” I said, swinging my foot towards her. “Mama said the world is sick right now and we’re-”
“-Not allowed outside, I know I know!” she finished my sentence, rolling her eyes. She flopped onto her back and let out a long sigh.
“What’s this then? Mama said, entering the room suddenly. She was holding a thick stack of papers in her hand.
“We’re bored,” Gaia and I said at the same time. She looked up at me from the carpet and gave me an upside-down smirk. I mirrored it.
“Bored already eh?” Mama said clicking her tongue. “How’s that possible with all the games and tablets and TV and books in this house.” She gestured around in circles with her hand.
“Aw Mama,” I said groaning. “We’re tired of that stuff. Can’t we go outside and play with our friends?”
Mama smiled kindly and shook her head. “I’m afraid not dears. Not until it’s safe again.”
“Well then, can’t we take a trip Mama? Anywhere?”
“Nope, no trips either I’m afraid.”
“I have an idea,” Mama said smiling and putting the papers down on the sofa. “Let’s have a party!”
We stared at her in silence for a minute.
“A…party?” I asked slowly. Gaia and I looked at one another and then back at Mama. She was nodding and smiling.
“What kind of party?” Gaia asked from the floor curiously.
“Well, let’s see,” Mama said thinking. “It can be any kind of party you like! How about we get things ready?”
Gaia and I exchanged bewildered looks again.
Mama laughed. “Come on! It’ll be fun, I promise,” she said motioning for us to stand up. I hopped off the sofa uncertainly and reached down to grab my twin sister's arms.
“What do we have to get ready?” I asked, pulling Gaia off the carpet.
She stood up unsteadily next to me and looked expectantly at Mama.
“I’ll make you a list,” Mama said smiling mysteriously. “And you can work through it.” She turned and started walking towards the kitchen.
We stared at her back, more puzzled than ever.
She turned around suddenly. “Well come along then!” she called to us.
We paused, glanced at each other and then ran to catch up to her.
“What’s the first thing again?” I asked, pushing open the door of our bedroom and walking in.
“It says ‘Decorations’,” Gaia said following behind, her eyes scanning the piece of paper that Mama had given us.
“What does that even mean?” I asked in confusion. I strutted up to Gaia and plucked the list from her hands.
“I think it means decorations for the party,” Gaia said slowly, she paced around the room thinking. “Mama said we can use whatever we like.”
“Alright,” I said, tossing the list on my bed. “I have some balloons somewhere, we can blow those up.”
“Good idea Tai,” Gaia said. Then she gasped in excitement. “Oh! Oh! I know where we can find the tinsel and streamers from last year’s Christmas party!”
“That’s great!” I said holding up my hand for a high five. Gaia slapped it hard and I winced. Ignoring this, she ran out the bedroom.
“I’m going to look for the Christmas box in the basement, meet me in the lounge so we can decorate!” she shouted.
“Alright!” I called back. I walked to my cupboard threw it open. My toys tumbled out around my feet and I kicked them away.
Sure enough, I found a pack of multicoloured balloons in the back. I was about to throw everything back in and head downstairs when something else caught my eye.
Downstairs in the living room, Gaia had dragged a big box of Christmas decorations up from the basement. She was digging through a second box when I ran into the room.
“Look here!” she exclaimed excitedly. “I found a box with some other decorations too. There’s party hats, silly string and look!”
With some effort, she pulled out a rolled-up poster. She pushed the elastic band off the end and unfurled it dramatically.
“Ta da!” she cried.
“Aw that’s perfect G!” I exclaimed, coming closer. It was a poster that Mama had made for our soccer team.
It was multicoloured and plastered with all our favourite cartoons. In the middle, between two pom-poms were the words “Hurrah Hurrah!”
“I thought it’d be fun to have celebration decorations,” Gaia said grinning.
“Yeah,” I said similing in agreement. I tossed the balloons on the floor between us. “I also found something that might be cool,” I said running back. I re-entered holding a piece of my old Halloween costume.
“Wow!” Gaia exclaimed, her eyes widening. She stepped through the boxes to help me carry it.
“Captain America’s shield!” I said laughing and grunting. “We can put it somewhere.”
“It’ll be perfect!” Gaia said lifting the other side of the shield and helping me carry it in.
We spent the next 2 hours throwing streamers, tinsel and silly string around the living room – and at each other. We blew up balloons until we couldn’t breathe and tossed them around the room randomly, leaving them where they landed.
It took some effort, but we hung the poster across the TV and put Captain America’s shield in the middle of the room. We were shoving the boxes behind the sofas when Mama came into the living room.
“Wow,” she exclaimed looking around impressed. She put her hands on her hips and laughed. “This is quite the celebration!”
“Well, that’s the theme!” Gaia said running to hug her breathlessly. Mama caught her in her arms and kissed her head.
“I love it!” she said. “I thought I’d come check in and perhaps help you with the second thing on your list?”
I pulled out the scrunched-up paper from my pocket, and squinted at it.
“’Good’?” I said questioningly, walking towards them.
“It’s ‘Food’,” Mama replied chuckling. “You know, party food.”
“Ah,” I said, handing Gaia the list. She looked up at Mama quizzically.
“What should we make Mama?” she asked.
“Well, what do people like to eat at parties?” Mama asked.
“Cake!” I exclaimed. “Oh! And chocolate!”
Gaia’s face lit up. “Oh! Oh! And candy!”
Mama laughed. “Yes, yes those things! Let’s go to the kitchen,” she said taking us both by the shoulders.
“We should also have chips and soda!” I said enthusiastically.
“What about cookies?” Gaia said rubbing her hands together.
“Well, we have all that and you know perfectly well where they are,” Mama said as we walked into the kitchen.
She released our shoulders and we ran to the cupboards, taking out packets of chips, sweets, cookies, candy and chocolate.
“What can we put them in?” I asked looking around the kitchen.
“How about these fun dishes?” Mama said walking to the cupboards above our heads and opening them up. She reached in and pulled out a stack of rainbow plastic bowls.
“Yeah!” Gaia and I exclaimed together. Mama grinned and set them down on the counter. Gaia and I got to work. We poured out the treats generously, filling the bowls to the brim.
“Let’s bring them to the living room,” Mama said picking up a full dish. “Careful now.”
Gaia and I lifted a bowl each and marched behind Mama. We made a few trips back and forth until the room was full of snacks.
“Looks good to me,” I said clapping my hands together.
“There’s one thing missing dears,” Mama said. We spun around.
“Cake of course!” she exclaimed laughing. “What do you say we bake one?”
Gaia and I exchanged looks and grinned.
“Yeah!” we said together, racing to the kitchen.
Mama helped us of course: she showed us how to measure the flour, the butter and the eggs. She stirred the batter when our arms got tired. She let us lick the sweet dough off the spoon and bowl while the cake baked in the oven.
Gaia and I were shoving frosting from a can into our mouths when
Mama pulled the cake out.
“All done!” she said. “We’ll have to let it cool down before we can frost it. Why don’t you take care of the next thing on the list in the meantime?”
Gaia put the spoon back into the can and wiped her chocolate covered hands on her t-shirt. She pulled the paper out of her pocket, staining it brown.
“It says, ‘Gift’,” she said smacking her lips.
I swallowed the last bit of frosting from my spoon and set it down on the counter. “What kind of gift?” I asked turning to Mama.
“Well it can be anything you’d like,” Mama said smiling. “Why don’t you go upstairs and think about it? You’ll also need to change for the party,” she said staring and pointing at our clothes.
We looked down, looked at each other and giggled.
“Yeah alright,” Gaia said. “Can we wear whatever we like Mama?”
“Whatever you like,” Mama replied nodding and smiling.
“This is gonna be the best party ever!” I exclaimed, and Mama laughed. Gaia and I walked out of the kitchen and tramped up the stairs noisily.
In our room, I opened my cupboard and kicked my toys out of the way.
“I’m gonna wear my Captain America t-shirt,” I said excitedly. “With the mask!” I pulled the mask out from under a pile of socks and sent some flying to the floor.
“Hmm,” Gaia murmured absently. She stood in front of her open cupboard and looked up and down.
“I have a crown and bangles,” she said digging in her draws. “And my red t-shirt. I could go as Wonder Woman!”
“Wow, we could both be superheroes!” I said excitedly.
“Yeah!” she replied grinning back at me.
Gaia combed her hair carefully, putting the gold crown on top of her head. I pulled on my t-shirt and fastened the mask across my face, tying it tightly at the back.
“What should we do about the present?” I asked leaning against my bed and looking around the room.
“Well, Mama said it can be anything we’d like right?” Gaia said turning to face me. She was fastening the thick gold bangles around her wrists.
“Hmm,” I said thinking hard. I snapped my fingers suddenly. “I’ve got it!” I said.
“What?” Gaia asked coming towards me curiously.
“How about we make a card?” I said excitedly. “I’ve got some stickers here,” I walked to my cupboard and dug around. I pulled out a card of stickers with different superheroes on them.
“Okay,” Gaia said nodding. “I’ve got stickers too. But what should the card say?”
I walked to our table and opened the draw, looking for paper.
“How about…” I pulled out some coloured paper and set it down.
“'Hurray For You’?”
“Hmm, alright” Gaia replied nodding. She tossed her own stickers onto the table. “Yeah, just like the big poster downstairs.”
“Cool!” I exclaimed. We set to work then, placing stickers carefully around the card. Gaia and I each wrote a letter for the message, and as we finished colouring in, we heard Mama call us from downstairs.
“We’re coming!” I called back. I looked at Gaia and she held up the card. It was the size of a notebook.
“Looks good!” I said smiling and giving her a thumbs up. She beamed back and folded it in half. I found a big rainbow envelope from one of our birthdays and we placed the card carefully inside.
We walked out of our bedroom and hurried downstairs excitedly.
“We’re here Mama,” Gaia said strolling in. She twirled and crossed her arms to show off her costume.
“Wow, very nice!” Mama said clapping and laughing.
I walked in kicking and punching the air. Mama clapped and laughed some more.
“Hey, the cake’s all done!” Gaia exclaimed running closer to the table. “It looks so good!”
“Mama you wrote ‘Hurray’ on it!” I said coming closer and laughing.
“I thought it would match the poster nicely,” Mama said grinning. “Well, are you ready to start the party?”
Gaia and I paused. We looked at one another and then looked around the room. We spent the whole day getting ready for this party, and we were really excited about it. Our eyes met and we were thinking the same thing.
“What’s the matter?” Mama asked bending down and looking at our faces.
“I don’t know, it just feels, maybe-” I began, looking at Gaia for help.
“Like we’re really excited for the party but-” Gaia continued.
“It feels like something’s missing,” we said at the same time staring at Mama.
“Ah!” she said, putting her arms around us and drawing us closer to her. “Well you’ve worked very hard today, on the decorations and the food, even on your clothes!” she exclaimed.
“So I think you deserve to have a really nice time tonight,” Mama continued. “And I think I know what’s missing.” She said smiling widely.
She released our shoulders suddenly and walked out of the living room.
We exchanged puzzled looks.
Mama returned and cleared her throat. “Children, a very special guest will be joining the party tonight.” She stepped sideways and held out her hand.
“May I introduce….Daddy!”
We gasped. From around the corner, Daddy bounced into the living room.
“Hello my superheroes!” he shouted happily.
“Daddy!” we cried, running to him at the same time. He laughed and knelt down. We crashed into him and he fell back onto the carpet with an ‘oof’.
Gaia and I laughed and hugged him.
“You came back home!”
“Are you better now Daddy?”
“Did they let you leave the hospital?”
“Did you kill the sickness?”
“Woah, woah woah,” Daddy said laughing and getting up into sitting position. He put his arms around us. Gaia held onto one side of his chest as I wrapped my arms around his stomach and looked up at him.
“I’m feeling much better, kiddos,” he said smiling and giving us a peck on our heads. “I heard you were having a party – a celebration Mama said,” he glanced up at her and winked. “So I thought I’d come home to join you for a little while. Is that okay?”
“Aww it’s the best Daddy!” I cried, hugging him tightly.
“I’m so happy you’re here,” Gaia said throwing her arms around his neck.
Daddy laughed and held onto us for a minute. “Let’s get this party started then!” he exclaimed.
“Yeah!” we cried back.
We poured soda and toasted to Daddy. Mama put some music on, and we danced around the living room happily. In between handfuls of chocolate, sweets and chips, Daddy cut the cake and we all had a slice. It was delicious!
“By the way dears,” Mama said turning to us suddenly. “Did you come up with an idea for a gift.”
Gaia and I inhaled and looked at each other. The card! We had completely forgotten about it.
“Just a minute Daddy,” Gaia said putting her plate down and standing up quickly.
“Yeah we just need to fetch it,” I said standing and hurrying out the room. We heard Mama and Daddy laughing as we raced up the stairs to our bedroom.
Gaia picked up the envelope off the floor breathlessly and turned to me. I nodded and we stumbled back downstairs.
“We made you-” I shouted as we burst into the room.
“-a card!” Gaia finished as she tumbled in behind me. We handed the envelope to Daddy. He took it from us and opened it carefully.
Unfolding the paper, he read the card and turned it this way and that to get a good look at all the stickers. We looked at him, breathing heavily.
He looked up at us and beamed. “I love it!” he exclaimed. Gaia and I cheered and jumped into his arms.
Mama took the card from him and looked it over. “Well this is very impressive!” she said placing it on the table and clapping.
“Yes, thank you so much for making me a card!” Daddy said kissing our faces. “And thank you so much for the party. Can I tell you what I’m most happy about today?” Daddy asked looking down at us questioningly.
“What?” we asked together, beaming.
“I’m most happy about seeing the two of you,” Daddy said grinning.
He pulled us in closer for a hug, and we held on tightly, both thinking about what a perfect day it had been.