Max’s older sister Myrna, Max’s Achilles heel, had announced that she was paying us a two-week surprise visit since she had never seen our house in Mexico. I cringed at the thought while Max became openly hostile. Finally the dreaded day of her visit arrived.
I went to look for Max to tell him the car I had ordered to take us to the airport was here and found him at the computer.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Not looking up but intently tapping the keyboard, he said, “I’m checking Myrna’s flight schedule. Unfortunately, no delays.”
“Max! Be kind. Remember you’re a Zen student and above being ruffled by your sister’s visit. Be patient.”
Max didn’t look up but kept tapping. “It’s a long shot but I’m hoping she’ll be abducted by aliens. Just think of the skinny green guy with big eyes sticking a probe into her and she’s screaming bloody murder. It would start an intergalactic war.”
“Max, pull yourself together. The car is here.”
We rode to the airport in silence. All the while Max was twiddling his moustache, a sure sign of nerves. His left eye kept twitching, too.
When we got to the airport, Max immediately went to the announcement board and when we saw that her flight had not been cancelled and was due to land any moment, the twitch in his eye worsened.
I took hold of his arm, trying to comfort him and said, “It’s not going to be that bad. Besides, I’ll be with you.”
“That’s what the priest says to the man about to be hanged. It doesn’t stop the inevitable.”
Towering above everyone, I spotted Myrna, her blond hair in a French twist. “Stiff upper lip, Max. Here she comes.”
Myrna’s voice sliced through the din of the crowd. “Darlings, there you are!”
She air kissed Max and me, then stepped back and took a good look at us.
“Maxie, dear old thing. Still have your baby fat, I see.” She pinched his cheek.
From the look on his face, I thought he was going to bite her hand.
Eying me up and down, she said, “Ah, Sylvia, Sylvia! Only you could wear that shade of green in daylight! But then, again, you always did live outside the box.”
Without waiting for our response, she snapped her fingers for a porter. “Load the suitcases on the trolley and watch what you’re doing. These are Louis Vuitton with not a scratch on them and I want them to stay that way.”
She turned back to us, “Wait for me while I go to the ladies’ lounge. After that, I’m all yours!”
She clicked away on her Manolo stilettos in a cloud of expensive, cloying perfume, leaving the porter and us dazed.
When she disappeared around the corner, Max looked at me and said, “Such fun. She’s all ours. Now what?”
I thought for a moment then said, “I take back what I said about kindness and patience. You once told me she couldn’t swim. Let’s take her to a cenote.”
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