Lyla Magda and I lay sprawled out on Lyla's turquoise sectional in her spacious entertainment room. There were various modes of entertainment to choose from. A 50-inch flatscreen was mounted on the wall; programmed with any channel or movie you wanted to watch. There was fuse ball, a pool table, a VR station, a scrabble table (my personal favorite), and a recording studio where you could make a video to the song you were singing off karaoke.
Lyla was checking her food delivery apps to see who was delivering with a discount. Lyla could eat and was always hungry. High metabolisms ran in her family. So she could shovel it in and not gain one pound. No matter what or how much she ate she stayed a skinny beanpole.
Magda was sending audio clips to open voice over positions around the city. Her voice was lovely. People enjoyed talking with and listening to her no matter what the topic was. Magda wanted to host her own holistic radio talk show one day.
Me...I was just lying on the sofa agonizing over my Aunt Astra's upcoming visit. Don't get me wrong. I loved my aunt; in fact she was my favorite aunt. She was smart, sophisticated, a stylish dresser, worked out and kept fit, did volunteer charity work, and owned her own advertising agency.
So why am I agonizing you ask.....because although my aunt had all those great things going for her; she had two serious flaws. She was honest. Too honest. No I mean like brutally honest and she always repeated her self as if to underline what she said.
No one was spared.
She didn't discriminate. It didn't matter who you were.
My Aunt did not believe in telling even a little white lie....ever. My aunt's attitude was tell and accept the truth and get on with life.
After every declared truth she would say...."If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings shooot if I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings. Ohkay?"
If someone pointed out how her words may have a negative effect.....she always replied..."band-aids are for babies!...shooot....band-aids are for babies! Ohkay?"
Take my 5th grade science fair for instance.
I was excited and nervous. All my family came to support me. I did my my project on wind energy. I made a wind turbine out of straws, popsicle sticks, and cardboard. The girl to my right did hers on vegetable batteries. The boy to my left did his on the solar system.
It looked like no one helped the boy on my left with his project and he just winged it so he would not get a zero for failure to participate. His planets were balled up socks of various colors and sizes. The sock planets hung on strings that were knotted on several coat hangers tied together with clipped zip-ties to make a mobile.
As for the girl to my right her actual project wasn't bad. It was her backboard that was terrible. It was handwritten with several scratch-outs and the handwriting was crowded and uneven. I guess she ran out of time to get information printed out to use for her blackboard.
As people were milling around checking out each project praising, giving hi-fives, fist bumps, and good jobs; my Aunt Astra was videoing. She paused tape and said loudly, "I'm going to have to crop out these two crappy projects on either side of Torianne before I send this out to the family chat group."
Even at 10 I was mortified. I wished a giant wormhole would have opened up and swallowed me right there on the spot.
There were huffs and angry sucking of teeth along with widened eyes and incredulous raised eyebrows that said....OMG did she just say that?!?!
My dad ever the diplomat tried to smooth things over. Aunt Astra was my dads baby sister.
"Astra honey I'm sure these young people did their best," said my dad. To which my aunt replied, "If this is their best, she gestured with her hand, then I'd hate to see their worst."
The girl started crying. Her mom came to her side to console her and shot my aunt a dirty look. The boy's face flushed red and his fists were balled up at his side.
My mom shook her head and bit her bottom lip. "Jeez Astra REALLY?" she said.
Aunt Astra said, "What?! If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings...shooot....If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings. Ohkay?"
The boy's father said, "Wow lady don't you see that these are 10 yr old kids?"
Aunt Astra shrugged and flung her hair over her right shoulder and said, "Mr. band-aids are for babies!...shooot...band-aids are for babies! Ohkay?"
Then there was the time I was trying out for my high school varsity softball team. I liked sports and I was pretty good at them. My gym teacher personally recommended me to the coach as a star player. I was pumped. Many other girls were nervous and worried if they would make the team.
My aunt was talking to her friend Pauline on the phone. "If they make it great; if they don't at least they know the truth....that they don't have any skills for softball. Find something else to do. No need to sulk or cry about it. Band-aids are for babies!...shooot...band-aids are for babies! Ohkay?" she remarked into the phone.
I blew air into my cheeks, closed my eyes, and shook my head.
After try-outs coach read off the names of who made starting roster. I made the team and was happy. Rolanda Spivey was happy too. She'd made the team. Her friends cheered for her and grabbed her in a 'selfie' group pose.
Aunt Astra, still talking on the phone with Pauline, says, "What in the heck was the coach thinking. That girl looks like she could play defensive end on the guys varsity football team. I mean unless she's just going to be the catcher."
Rolanda was a BIG girl. She was heavy-set and stood 5'11 in her stocking feet.
I closed my eyes willing myself to break up into tiny particles and teleport to Starship Enterprise.
"Aunt Astra, I croaked. "Please I have to practice and play with these girls. Don't make enemies for me."
"She chucked my chin and said, "Oh baby girl don't worry. Maybe being on the team will do her some good after all. Get her moving; she'll drop some much needed pounds. Provided she leaves those disgusting fast food joints alone. If she does she'll look good and feel good. You mark my words. If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings...shooot....If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings. Ohkay?"
Needless to say Rolanda and her crew hated my guts for the rest of high school right up until we were sophmores in college where she finally let me explain about my aunt and apologize.
On many more occasions my aunt kept it real; while the rest of us had to try and smooth over, clean up, appease, hurt feelings and embarrasments.
The all time worst situation involved Dexter Campbell. A guy I developed a crush on in college. We both attended the same local community college. I sat across from Dexter in sociology class.
He had a handsome face, wavy black hair, and green eyes. He was popular, kind, and friendly.
For an up coming study project; Dexter and I were assigned to work together.
Professor Elbee wrote a long list of options to choose from for our project. We decided to tackle domestic violence and it's consequences in todays society.
A weighty topic; Dexter and I spent a lot of time together over the next 4 weeks getting our project ready . Outside of class we would meet at the library, the park, the local coffee shop, and a popular diner downtown.
Even after the assignment was completed and submitted we still hung out sometimes.
Finally I got up the nerve to invite him, to my family BBQ. I can't tell you the relief I felt when Aunt Astra said she didn't think she would make it because she was tied up trying to work out some kinks in a contract for a cat food comercial in Arizona.
On the day of the BBQ the weather was nice: clear blue sky with plenty of sunshine without being hot.
Magda and Lyla of course were there along with a few other girls I had invited. Dexter came and brought his two roommates.
My Uncle Herb the grillmaster was serving up delicious varieties of meats on one grill and non-meat options on another grill.
The little kids were having a great time on the slip and slide.
Other family members and friends sat in groups of two or more...chatting, playing cards, hang-man, and arguing over who was trying to cheat while playing a board game.
Dexter and his roommates decided to toss a frisbee they had brought along.
Magda hit me on the shoulder; then pointed to my patio door. "Hey look it's your Aunt Astra."
I immediately got a migrane. "Please God do not let her embarrass me today in front of Dexter," I pleaded.
Apparently Aunt Astra was able to wrap things up earlier than expected and take a direct flight and make it on time to the family BBQ after all.
My aunt was making her rounds greeting family and friends.
At the exact time she made it to me and my friends; Dexter threw the frisbee and clipped my Aunt Astra on the side of her head.
Dexter came running over to us all apologetic; saying it was an accident was she hurt; could he get her a glass of water?
My aunt looked at Dexter and asked him his name.
"Hi I'm Dexter sorry again." he said.
My aunt smiled and said, "My,my,my, so THIS is the sociology hunk my neice is madly in love with. No wonder you have a crush on him. He's cute, smart, sporty, and a gentleman. What more can you ask for. Torianne you better not let this catch get away."
Dexter raised his left eyebrow as a slow grin spread across his face.
I only know that because Magda told me later. I was to busy trying not to pass out.
I was tingly and hot; my face red as cranberries. I felt like the wind was knocked out of me making it hard for me to breathe.
"OMG Aunt Astra!" I finally gurgled out.
"What?! If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings....shooot....If I'm lying I'm flying and I ain't got no wings. Ohkay?"
Mom came over and gave me a side hug while rubbing my back. "Astra! Jeez! Can you stop embarrasing people?" she said.
My Aunt came over to me and hugged me and then cupped my face in her hands and said, "Suck it up buttercup. He's a keeper. Remember band-aids are for babies!....shooot....band-aids are for babies! Ohkay?"