Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 81


Tommy
The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 81
Albuquerque, the apartment, and a bonfire.

We had made it back to New Mexico and the resort. We had witnessed our first Southwestern Sunset of the year and attended our first bonfire. My aunt had given me an old, fancy, Navajo rug, and we’d taken it to the bonfire to sit on. Two women that were there saw the rug and tried to buy it. But it wasn’t for sale at any price.

Today, Monday, we needed to go to Albuquerque and the university. So Amy and I were up early, it was five in the morning local time, seven back home. We quietly dressed. I was back to being Tom. At least for now.

We quietly made our way to the kitchen and made breakfast. As we were eating, my aunt walked into the kitchen, and said, “Good morning you two. You did say that you were going to be up early.”

I looked at her, and said, “Good morning, Aunt Ruth. I hope we didn’t wake you?”

“No, honey. I’m usually up by now. Can I get you anything?”

“No thank you. We’re about ready to leave.”

A short time later Amy and I were heading south to Albuquerque. And just about eight o’clock we were parking at the university. We pulled out the campus map that we had and found what building the registrar's office was in. And we walked to the office.

When we walked out of the registrar's office, we had our temporary ID cards, and Amy was registered in the two classes that she needed to take. We also found out that I needed to visit the Graduate School, and that Amy needed to visit the College of Nursing. But we knew that.

Then we went down the hall to the parking office and received a summer parking permit. Even though we probably won’t use the student parking lots.

Then it was to the student housing office, and that was in one of the dorms, we walked in, and told them who we were. They checked their records and told us that we were in the married student apartments near the hospital. That was a good thing. We filled out and signed a rental agreement, and paid a deposit. Even though the university was picking up the rental cost, we had to pay a security deposit. Then they gave us a paper that explained telephone service that we’d be responsible for and needed to schedule the installation. Also, the only other utility that we were responsible for was electricity, and we filled out a form so that we could be billed.

We waited a little while for someone from the housing office to show us the apartment, and it wasn’t long until a woman walked with us to the apartment and showed us around. The first thing we noticed was that these units were all done in adobe with a Southwestern look.

The woman told us that we’d be the only unit in the four-unit building that would be occupied this summer, and the other three would be filled in the fall.

As we walked around, we saw that it was just like what was in the information that we’d gotten from Dr. Etsitty. Two bedrooms with open beam ceilings and a full bath on the second floor. An eat-in kitchen, living room, a small room that could be an office or a small bedroom, and a half bath on the first floor. There was a private basement, private patio, and an attached one car garage.

The woman told us about everything. The heating and air-conditioning system, the electrical service, the hookup to the outside TV antenna, etc. Then she took us down the basement, and we were surprised to find a washer and dryer. She told us that the last residents had found a used washer and dryer and had just left them when they moved out. But she wasn’t sure if they worked or not. We were welcome to use them. And, if they didn’t work and we wanted them out, the university would remove them for us.

She went on to tell us some other things, including that the Post Office delivered directly to the door, that there was a good used furniture store close by that delivered, and about the other shops in the area. We thanked her for all the information. She handed us two keys to the apartment and a key to the overhead door to the garage.

As the woman left, she told us to contact the housing office if we had any questions or problems.

I took Amy in my arms, and said, “Well, our first place.”

“Yeah.”, Amy said. “This will be fun.”

“We need to find a phone and call Uncle Paul, go to the bank, and then find mattresses.”

“I saw a phone outside the drugstore that we walked past coming over here.”

We locked up the apartment and walked back the way we’d come. Amy was right, and there was a pay phone right outside the drug store. I called my aunt and uncles house, and Aunt Ruth answered.

I said, “Hi Aunt Ruth. It’s Tom. We have an apartment.”

Then I gave her the address, and she said that my uncle and the truck should be there by twelve-thirty. I told her that would be great, and that we were going to the bank, and then try and find some mattresses.

We walked to where we’d parked the car and drove to the bank. We met with the branch manager and set up both a checking and a savings account with the money that we had wired to them. They were happy to have us as customers. They gave us some checks without names printed on them and told us that our real checks would arrive by mail in one to two weeks. I also cashed in all of our traveler's checks.

As we got back in the car, I looked at the paper we’d received from the university about phone service. There was a number on it to call to schedule a time for them to install the phone. We found a pay phone, and I called them and set up a date and time. And it wouldn’t be until Wednesday afternoon.

We then found a store that carried mattresses, and we bought two king size sets. And set up the delivery for Wednesday afternoon. We also bought four end table lamps with shades, one for each bedroom, and two for the living room. And those we took with us.

We stopped and grabbed a quick lunch and went back to the apartment to wait for my uncle. We’d packed a clock radio, and when we were back at the apartment, I dug that out of the car and plugged it in. At least we had music to pass the time. Amy and I carried the lamps into the apartment. I took two of them up to the bedrooms, and just set them on the floor. Amy set the other two on the kitchen counter until the end tables arrived.

Just before twelve-thirty a car and truck pulled up in front of the apartment. Both my aunt and uncle got out of the car, and three guys got out of the truck. One of the guys was Francisco, who’s in charge of maintenance for the resort, and I figured that the other two also worked for the resort.

Amy and my aunt went into the apartment to do who knows what, and the five of us guys moved the furniture into the apartment. With five of us doing it, it didn’t take long. The last thing that we were going to move in was the safe. It was lucky that the truck had a lift gate, and that the safe was on a wheeled dolly. We were also fortunate that there were no steps up into the apartment, so all we had to do was push the safe from the back of the truck, up the walk, over the threshold, and into the apartment.

Once we had the safe in the apartment, my uncle asked, “Tom, where do you want this monster?”

“Upstairs.”

My uncle looked at me, frowned, and said, “No. That thing weighs between 400 and 500 pounds.”

“Okay. It was worth a try. Let’s put it in the small room.”

We pushed the safe into the small room. And the hardest thing was getting the safe off of the dolly and moved to where we wanted it.

My uncle went into the living room with Amy and my aunt. And I walked back outside with Francisco and the other two guys. As the four of us walked to the truck, I took out my wallet, and slipped each of them a five dollar bill, as I said, “Thank you for your help.”

“Mr. Tom.”, Francisco said. “You don’t need to do this.”

“Francisco, you and your friends were a big help. And Amy and I appreciate it very much.”

“Thank you, Mr. Tom. If you ever need anything, please let me know.”

“Thanks, Francisco.”

And I got a handshake from each of the guys. And they left.

I went back into the apartment. Amy, Aunt Ruth, and Uncle Paul were sitting in the living room talking. As I walked in, I said, “Aunt Ruth. Uncle Paul. Thank you again for everything.”

“Tom.”, my aunt said, “You are very welcome.”

“And, it looks like you’re going to have to put up with us until Wednesday. That’s when we get the phone get installed, and the mattresses get delivered. And we should be able to stay here after that.”

“Honey, I wish everyone was as easy to put up with as you and Amy are. By the way, we heard from your friends back home. I guess it’s Kelly and Larry?”

“Yes. Kelly and Larry. What did they say?”

“They’ll be here on July 13 and leave July 17.”

“That’s great!” ... “Wait. That’s four nights. The gift certificate was for three nights. Wasn’t it?”

“Yes. They picked up the fourth night. Something about wanting to see more of you and Amy.”

“Did they say anything about anyone else coming with them?”

“No. It’s just them.”

I saw Amy’s face. It went from a smile to a frown, as she said, “Oh well.”

“What’s wrong, honey?”, my aunt asked Amy.

“We were hoping our other two friends, Maria and Mark could come out with them. We wanted to do one of the barbecues with the four of them.”

“Weren’t they out here just last year?”

“Yes, after their wedding.”

“Well, maybe they’ll be able to come out some other time?”

“Yeah. But the six of us are best friends, and it won’t be the same without Maria and Mark.”

“I’m sorry, honey.”

“It’s not your fault Aunt Ruth.”

I went into the small room and checked that the combination worked on the safe. And it did. I wrote down the combination on four pieces of paper before I removed the tape from the safe. I put one piece of paper in my wallet, hid one, gave one to Amy, and one to Uncle Paul.

Amy looked at the piece of paper, and I said, “Put that in a safe place.”

“Why?”, Amy said. “Why not just memorize it?”

“I suppose that you already have?”

She just smiled.

Aunt Ruth and Uncle Paul headed back to the resort. Amy and I had a few things to do before we headed back. First, we walked over to the Graduate Studies office, and I made an appointment to see an advisor on Tuesday. Then we walked over to the College of Nursing, and Amy made an appointment to see Dr. Etsitty also on Tuesday. My appointment was in the morning, and Amy’s was in the afternoon.

We walked back to the apartment, I opened the garage and backed the car in. It would be easier to unload our things through the door from the garage into the kitchen. Then it would be to carry it from the driveway. We unloaded the car and took things where they need to be. Some things stayed downstairs, but most things went upstairs. We needed to buy hangers before we unpacked the suitcases.

After we unload, we locked up the apartment and drove around the area a little to see what was here. And we found a hardware store, we went in, wandered around, and we purchased a few things, clothes hangers, a couple of light timers, an answering machine for the phone, and some basic tools. Like a hammer, a screwdriver, and so forth. We also picked up some picture hanging hooks.

Then we went back to the apartment, and I set up the light timers on one of the table lamps in the living room and on one of the table lamps in one of the bedrooms. Amy had been looking at the windows, and said, “I like the window blinds that they have, but I’d like to add some curtains. They do have curtain rods on every window. So all we’d have to do is buy the curtains. Something that looks Southwestern.”

“We can do that. It’ll add a homey look.”

“I’d like to do it before Kelly and Larry get here.”

“Your wish is my command, M’Lady.”

“Oh kind Sir, we have two weeks.”

“M’Lady, that will be no problem. Our castle will be a proper castle by then.”

Once we were over our silliness, we measured each window for curtains, so that we’d know the sizes we needed if we found something we liked. Then we locked up the apartment for the night and took a drive through the downtown area of Albuquerque before heading to the resort. We did find what looked to be a nice department store, but we didn’t stop.

We were back at the resort just before dinner, and Amy went to work helping Aunt Ruth. I asked Aunt Ruth if I could call my parents. And as I talked to my mom, I gave her our address in Albuquerque and asked her to file a change of address with the Post Office for Amy and me. And that we’d be in the apartment from Wednesday night on, and that I’d call her as soon as they installed our phone.

As we were eating with my aunt and uncle, my aunt asked, “Going to watch the sunset tonight Tom?”

“You know. Aunt Ruth, I think … Shoot. I almost forgot about the little tree. We need to get it planted.”

“We can drive up there plant it and be back in time for you to soak in one of the pools if you want to and then go to the bonfire.”, my uncle said.

“How?”

“It won’t take long to plant it. I had the guys go up there with some good soil, work the area, and prepare a hole.”

“You think of everything, Uncle Paul.”

“That’s why I get the big bucks.”

“Let's do it.”

“You and Amy go get the tree and meet me at the truck. I’ll get some water. There are already tools in the truck.”

Amy held the tree on her lap on the ride up the back road. A bumpy back road. When we got there, Amy carried the tree, Uncle Paul carried the water, and I brought the shovel.

When we got to the place where the old tree had been, I was surprised. First, signs were marking this as a conservation area and saying no trespassing. Once we got to the spot where the old tree was, there was a lot of fresh dirt and a hole where the little tree was going to go. And there was still some remnants of the old tree there.

I looked at Uncle Paul and said, “Who did this? Francisco?”

“Yes.”, my uncle replied. “And a couple of the guys.”

“When?”

“After they got back from delivering the furniture.”

“Please tell them, thank you for us.”

“I told them it was for Kai and Ajie, and they said anything for you two.”

After we added a little more soil to the bottom of the hole, Amy and I knelt down, removed the little tree from the container, placed it in the hole, and packed dirt around it. Uncle Paul handed me the water container, and we poured some water around the tree.

Amy and I knelt there for a minute. Then we got up, brushed the dirt off of us, and we headed back to the house. On the way down, Uncle Paul said, “They’re going to place a fence around it tomorrow to protect it, and it will get watered on a regular basis until it’s well established.”

“Uncle Paul.”, I said. “Why all the fuss?”

“You told us that this tree was special. So, we’re treating it that way.”

“You are too much. But thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

When we got back at the house, we had enough time to soak in one of the pools for a little while and make the bonfire, if we hurried. We ran back to our room, and I pulled the swimsuits, the three swimsuits, out of the suitcase. I handed Amy hers and looked at the other two.

Amy asked, “Thinking of going as Kai?”

“Yeah.”, I replied. “I might.”

“Just do it.”

“You think.”

“Yes.”

I quickly stripped and slipped into Kai’s swimsuit. Then I found the breast forms and slipped them into the suit. The bra part of the swimsuit wasn't as supportive as a regular bra is. I was concerned that the new forms wouldn’t work in the swimsuit. As I moved around the forms moved more than I was used to, but they stayed where they were supposed to. I don’t think I’d want to go swimming in this suit with the forms in. Soaking in one of the thermal pools would be a different thing.

I turned, looked at Amy, and said, “Well?”

“It works, lover.”, Amy said with a smile.

“I thought so too. But the forms do feel a little loose in this top.”

“Honey, I think it’ll be fine.”

I put my hair into a ponytail. Amy did her hair the same way. I added one of the beaded headbands. We both added a little light makeup. Then we grabbed two bath towels and wrapped them around our waists like a skirt, slipped on moccasins, and walked out of our room into the main part of the house. My aunt and uncle saw us, and my aunt said, “Girls, you look so nice.”

“Thanks, Aunt Ruth. We’re going to go to the thermal pools for half an hour. Then come back, change, and go to the bonfire. We’ll see you there.”

“The rug is in your room if you want to meditate.”

“Thanks. We saw it. But I think that we are just going to enjoy the bonfire and the people tonight.”

“They’ll enjoy you too.”

“They will?”

“Honey, you know that the two of you always add something special when you’re here.”

“If you say so.”

“Honey, we aren’t the only ones that say that.”

“I know, Aunt Ruth. We’ll see you at the bonfire.”

“Bye Kids.”

Amy and I almost ran to the area of the thermal pools and picked one of the pools to soak in its warm water for about a half an hour. As we soaked, Amy asked, “When we planted the little tree and were kneeling there, did you feel anything?”

“Like maybe the spirit of the tree?”, I replied.

“Yeah. I think it was.

“It was. It was happy to be home.”

“I did feel a sense of happiness.”

After we’d soaked for a half an hour, we headed back to the house.

When we got back to the house, my aunt and uncle were gone. So, we took a quick shower together. But, no fooling around this time. After we were out of the shower and dry, we both changed into long skirts and fancy blouses. I went with the wrap moccasins and Amy, now Ajie used a regular pair of moccasins.

Ajie quickly braided her hair into a single braid and added a fancy leather wrap at the end. And then she added one of the beaded headbands.

I was working on braiding my hair into two braids. And I was having problems. So Ajie asked if she could help. And I let her braid my hair. Nothing fancy, except for the fancy wraps at the end of the braids. And I added the braided leather headband with the feathers that hung down. I placed it, so the feathers hung just in front of my left ear.

Ajie went light on the silver jewelry, just a Concho belt, and a bracelet. She wore a pair of the beaded earrings and the beaded choker. And the ever-present meteorite necklace.

Me on the other hand, I started with a Concho belt, one of the squash blossom necklaces, the Concho bone choker, a bracelet, a few rings, and a pair of the silver feather earrings. And like Ajie, the meteorite necklace.

I looked at the rug. No, I wasn’t taking it, but I said, “Ajie, you know that rug would make a good wall hanging in the apartment.”

“You’re right.”, Ajie said. “And I know the perfect place.”

“Where?”

“The space where the living room meets the dining room.”

“I like it.”

“We’ll just have to figure out how to hang it.”

Later as we walked up to the bonfire, I saw grandma, Aunt Ruth, and Uncle Paul talking to guests. We walked around, paying more attention to the fire than the guests. And I was feeling the spirits of the fire. But we also talked with a few guests, more about our clothes than anything else.

The fire was starting to burn down, and Amy and I were standing side by side concentrating on the fire, feeling its spirit when I felt a hand on my shoulder. It startled me. And the karate training kicked in, I spun around, and took a defensive stand. And …

~o~O~o~

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