In our family, we have those not-quite-relatives-but-we-claim-them-anyhow members. Rather than to go into lengthy detail about how So-and-So is my sister's first baby's daddys' second ex-wife, or This One is my first cousin's other cousin on her daddy's side, or That One divorced my brother sixteen years ago but we like her better than him, I have simplified the terminology.
These are not My Inlaws.
These are My Outlaws.
One of my Outlaws showed up on my doorstep early one day as I was hovering over the coffee maker, trying to inhale caffeine through the heavenly scent. My hair was a mess. My eyes still bleary from sleep and my plans did not include company of any sort. Bless her little heart, she came to the back door, but she knocked. I thought it was funny. Nobody knocks around here. If the dog doesn't bark, that means you're part of the family, so come on in. Looking back on it, she probably thought I was walking around indecent that early in the morning, but that never happens. Three teenaged boys live here. We practice modesty.
Anyhoo. She's my age, but she has a disorder I think she was probably born with. She's had it as long as I've known her. It's called Energy. She doesn't seem to suffer from it, but I assure you, it affects every person around her. It's sort of like Tourrette's. It's annoying and you often want to smack her for it, but the poor dear was born that way, so you just deal.
I pour her some coffee, though I don't think she needs it, and we pick up conversation from the last time I saw her. It's like that with us. It doesn't matter if we saw each other last week, or if it was two years ago. We just pick right back up where we left off.
I start to wash the dishes, because she does not like to sit down and relax, and when you are the only one in the room with her, you tend to catch Energy from her, even if it's just for a short time. She's contagious. She rinses and dries. I didn't ask her to. This is automatic.
She wants to talk about the book she's reading. She prattles on and on, and I start to smile as I listen to her because I can tell she is genuinely excited about the outcome of the story. She describes each character and her opinion of them, and what she thinks is going to happen next. Listening to her, my heart (and my head) begin to swell, and I realize how much I appreciate her intrusion into my day.
She says to me at one point about a character in the book, "Did you notice how Jeremy stood off to the side and just watched without saying anything? I think he's the stalker. Did you notice that he has a history for being a creep?"
Of course I noticed.
I wrote the book.