I remember knowing my uncle Anthony ever since I can remember. He was only 12 years old when I was born. My mother had been 20 at the time. She had a boyfriend (which was my father) but their relationship didn't last long after I was born. My mom said he took off and wanted nothing to do with me. She eventually dropped out of college and started working for some rich lady at a boutique selling expensive dresses for high society girls. Eventually the rich lady died and left the shop to my mom which she proudly owns and runs.
My Uncle Anthony (he hated being called Tony) lived with my grandmother until he was 21 years old. After finishing up college, he moved away with some girlfriend of his at the time to another city.
I recall the day he left because I was crying so much. My mother usually left me at my grandmother's house while she worked and my uncle was always there to hang out with me. We'd play video games, go outside and play basketball, or even just hang out and listen to music. I loved being with him and spending as much time as I could with him.
So, when I heard he was moving out, I threw a hissy fit. I locked myself in the bathroom at my grandmother's house and refused to come out. My uncle Anthony was standing outside knocking calmly.
"Gabby, please talk to me. C'mon now."
"No! Go away. Just leave! You're going to anyway!" I pouted in my sassiest nine year old voice.
"I'm not going to leave with you mad at me," My uncle said in a soft voice.
I leaned up against the door and sobbed. I had cried so much I started to hiccup. I figured the longer I stayed mad at my uncle, the longer he'd stick around. I was being such a brat.
"Gabby?" He asked.
"Why can't you just stay?" I asked sadly.
"Because I'm too old to be living at home," he laughed.
"I don't think you're old," I replied.
"Well, maybe you don't but I do. I need responsibilities. I need to make something out of my life."
"I can be your responsibility," I said.
He stayed quiet. "As much as I would love that, you are my sister's child not mine."
I felt my heart break. "Then just leave!" I yelped. Angry tears poured down my face.
"I want to say goodbye," he said in a somber tone.
I dried my tears. "Goodbye," I snapped. I still refused to open the door.
"Gabby ... please," he urged.
The urgency in his voice made me consider opening the door.
"You know if you don't let me in, I will come in anyway. I can open a locked door you know."
My heart pounded but I didn't say anything.
A few seconds later I hear footsteps and more footsteps and then the door knob begins to move. I gasp and by the time I can do anything, my uncle has opened the door with one of my grandmother's bobby pins.
He looked at me. His soft brown eyes, his sweet smile. I gulped.
"See? I told you I could open it," he smiled kindly. I could tell he was ready to go. He wore his khaki slacks and a crisp sky blue button up shirt. I loved the color sky blue on him. It went so well with his jet black hair that he always combed back.
I crossed my arms and pouted.
He knelt down to be able to look me in the eye. He dried the last of my tears with his warm hand and gently pushed my hair out of my face. "Hey I don't want to leave with you being mad at me you know. I don't like it when you're mad at me."
I looked down trying to avoid looking into his eyes.
"I'm going to miss you," I told him in a shaky voice.
"I'm going to miss you too kid. I'll miss you a lot."
I slowly looked up at him. "Are you going to call me?"
He nodded. "I will call you. Maybe not every night but I will phone you whenever I can."
"Do you love Lydia?" I asked wondering about his girlfriend at that time. I had met her only once and immediately didn't like her, but then again it seemed I didn't like any of his girlfriends.
He sighed. "Yeah I do love her."
I blinked back tears. "More than you love me?"
He looked a bit shocked when I asked that. "I couldn't love anyone the way I love you kid."
"Quit calling me kid ok?" I said angrily.
"Ok, ok. I'm sorry Gabby."
I leaned over and put my arms around him. He smelled like Irish Spring soap. I held him tight against me and felt his strong arms wrap around me like a blanket.
"Will you come visit me when you can?" I asked in a muffled voice.
"I love you," I said. It felt different when I told him at that time. Being a child I didn't understand why it felt different. It just did.
"I love you too. Love you so much," he rasped and leaned back to kiss my cheek. His lips left a slight wetness on my skin. Most people would have the tendency to wipe it off but I loved how it stayed on my skin and slowly dissolved.
"Ok, well I'll see you around Gabby," he said and stood back up. I looked up at him and he stroked my hair.
"Ok. Bye Uncle Anthony," I said in a barely audible voice.
He walked out of the bathroom and looked back and winked at me. Then he went off to start his own life.
~Four Years Later~
"Aww look at the pretty birthday girl! Doesn't she look divine?" My mother cheered proudly.
I felt sick. I hated wearing dresses. Well I take that back, I didn't mind dresses, just not these prom like looking ones. I swear my mom had the worst taste ever. Just because the dress was made from some big time designer I was supposed to like it? She could have just bought me a cute dress at Forever 21 and I would have had a better time in that.
But no, she had to get me this big dress that was made from some designer whose name I can't even pronounce and made me wear it with my friends present.
My mom had decided to give me a birthday party, although I didn't want one. She said everyone likes birthday parties. Well not this girl. She had taken the liberty to go through my cell phone and call up all my friends and invite them to this stupid party.
The party was boring anyway. My mom hired some DJ that played pop music that I hated and she even went all out to buy a terribly expensive birthday cake. I had planned to stick my face in the cake after blowing out the candles. I figured that would piss her off.
Don't get me wrong. I appreciated my mom doing things for me, but it seemed she only did things to either relive her youth or to try to impress some of her own friends. I mean what are a bunch of thirty something year old women doing at a thirteen year olds party anyway?
My mother hadn't gotten married. She'd had plenty of boyfriends but no one steady who I can call "dad." I preferred staying at my grandmother's as much as I could to avoid having to hear my mom complain about her latest boyfriend.
"You look just lovely," Brooke Gordon scoffed.
I hated Brooke. She was only on my contacts phone list because she and I were once forced to do a science experiment together and I would call her to see what the status of her part in the project was. I should have taken her off the phone list but then again how was I supposed to know my mom would call up everyone on my list?
I walked past Brooke wearing my designer dress. It was a peach color (hate the color peach) with chiffon and lace. I was about to walk outside, when I felt my mom's hand grab my arm.
"Gabby, I want you to meet some of my friends."
I turned to see the women whose names I can't even remember. They all looked like teachers. I greeted the women and went on outside. It felt nice outside. The springtime was slowly creeping in. It was a nice sixty degree day outside. The sky was cloudy but the sun would peek through every once in a while when a cloud moved.
I stood outside while other people enjoyed my party. I saw a black SUV park into my mom's driveway. I tip toed to see who it was over the tall gate in the yard. I saw jet black hair, fair skin and a sky blue t-shirt. I went numb.
The voice was strong.
"Gabby is that you?"
"Uncle Anthony?" I choked.
"Hey it is you! Wow! You're so grown up!" The excitement in his voice rang loudly.
He opened up the gate and walked towards me. He still looked so tall. His hair was now spiky. He had gained a little weight but it looked good on him. He wore dark blue jeans and black and white Nike shoes. He stood in front of me for a few seconds while I digested the fact that he was right there in front of me.
It had been so long since I'd seen him. Four years to be exact. He would call me but eventually those phone calls stopped after a year or so. He never wrote to me or came to visit like he said he would. I had bottled up anger for a while but eventually forgot about him ... well sort of.
"Hi Gabby," he said slowly.
"Hi," I replied trying to hold back tears.
"Can I get a hug?" He asked carefully.
I stood still for a few seconds. "Um ... I guess," I mumbled. He walked closer to me and embraced me. I smelled Irish Spring on him. His warmth felt good and I liked how his body felt pressed against mine. I held him and suddenly my emotions took over me. I started to cry.
"Aww don't cry," my uncle whispered.
"You n-never called me. You said you would," I accused.
I heard him sigh. He held me tighter. "I know. I know. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
We slowly broke our embrace and I dried off my tears. "So ... what brings you back to town?"
He licked his pink lips. "Well ... you're mom called me to tell me it was your thirteenth birthday," he paused, "and I'm moving back in town," he said at last.
"You're moving back? Why? I mean what happened?"
.... There is more of this story ...