I spent my evening with her last night. To fulfill a promise, I took her out to see New Moon in the theater before its release to DVD.
The dollar theater where it was playing is about 40 minutes away from our town in the coun-trey. We were running a little behind so I was trying to focus on the quickest way there. Our conversation was a bit staggered and hesitant.
I seem to ask her the same questions (school, interests, and boys) and I always feel like she's not putting to much effort into her answers, which makes me crazy but she's a teenager and I get it.
We talked about teen magazines and teen celebrities. She told me who was dating whom, who had broken up and about the poster she has on her bedroom wall of Taylor Lautner. She told me she can see his 6 pack and the top of his boxers.
She was smiling and giggling and blushing. I remembered what the walls of my childhood bedroom looked liked when I was a teenager with my posters of Corey Haim and other stars.
On one small side road we saw a lot of deer. They looked surreal, standing still and watching us pass. Even though we were already running late I stopped the van and we watched them frozen in the snow. My niece kept exclaiming "How can they be real, they look fake just standing there?". Then the deer had burst into motion and the van became silent as the both of us watched.
Arriving at the theater my niece's demeanor changed once again. Again the bubbling excitement of seeing her celebrity crushes on the BIG SCREEN over took her. She skipped herself to the box office where I bought the tickets, costing $2.00 a piece and we rushed inside.
The theater was dark when we entered. Thankfully we found empty seats without accidentally sitting on anybody first.
My niece was bouncing in her seat. Then the movie began and her body quieted and became still.
Every time I glanced her way she'd look at me and smile, especially during the scene where Jacob takes off his shirt to wipe the blood from Bella's head.
I could only imagine what she was thinking.
The movie was longer then I had expected but it was good and we both enjoyed it.
It was time for a snack and we headed out into the cold on our way to get ice cream.
I asked her while we were freezing our butts off walking to the van if she wanted to get something warm instead of ice cream.
"What does it matter if it's cold out? I love ice cream."
She is so much like me.
At the restaurant we sat across from each other. I watched her face and listened to her talk. I asked some "heavy" questions about friends, who picks on her, boys, school and the conversation again quieted down.
Then I asked her what she wanted to talk about. From that point on, she talked about everything with a little more freedom and enthusiasm.
Boys. She talked about boys. She talked about her brother. She asked the waitress if she could keep the long handled spoons. We laughed.
We ate ice cream as we shivered.
On our way home we boogied in our seats to some disco music. She grew quiet and I just let her be, remembering how I wished when I was a teenager that adults would just stop asking so many questions.
I had to swerve hard to avoid running over a fresh road killed skunk. The stinkiness filled the van and we gagged and laughed.
I chuckled at remembering a brief conversation we had on the way to the theater. She had explained that when her family is out driving they hit the roof and then punch one another when they pass a yellow Volkswagon bug.
"I don't play that game in the van." I had said. "I just punch people whenever I want to"
She looked at me a little nervously as if waiting for me to punch her. I smiled instead and chuckled.
"That sounds.... fun", She had finally replied cautiously.
I pulled into her driveway and I thanked her for being my date.
She put her arms around me. She thanked me and said I love you without me saying it first.
Teenagers talk when we grown ups least expect it and boy, do they speak volumes.
I dreamt of her face last night. Her smiling freckle covered face.
I woke up this morning, still smiling.