Family Jitters

I think it’s safe to say that

Your jitters have kicked in.

You asked me whether

You’ve packed the right clothes thrice;

Repacked your suitcase twice and,

Questioned me if they’re going to like you

A hundred times.

I asked you about your favourite song,

It didn’t take you half a breath

To name a tune from the seventies.

I told you how every morning

The radio woke with the sun

And had breakfast with the family

Because it played songs from when

The films where monochrome

To when colour was new to the screen.

This seemed to change the course

Of the butterflies in your stomach

And your queries shifted

To who liked what.

You’ve been grinning all through the ride to the airport

And throughout all the formalities.

You kept talking about how excited you were

And all the plans you were waiting to execute.

But you’ve gone a little quiet now

At the bookstore near the gate.

I let the reality and jitters settle down on you

To dwell over your thoughts for a while longer,

Smiling whenever I catch your sight.

You’ve taken your seat next to the window

Letting me take my aisle seat –

It was easy traveling with you;

Our seat preferences were complimenting.

We take off a few hours before dawn.

Usually, you’d be drooling by now

But your eyes are lost beyond the clouds

With not a hint of sleep in them.

I nudge your elbow lightly with mine.

“Hey. What’s up?”

You give me soft sigh and whisper,

“What if they don’t like me?”

I try to give you reasons why they won’t dislike you

But before I can you continue,

“Or what if I don’t like everything about them?”

“Well. Then you don’t.”

“What?”

“You don’t like everything about them.”

You look at me confused, not expecting my response;

Not satisfied with my response.

“You don’t have to like everything about someone

To make them family.”

“Yes, true. But -”

“But that’s really just it.”

You let out a louder sigh this time,

Full of doubt.

“Listen. Being family isn’t about loving everything

It’s about loving some bits and not loving some

But eventually being in a place of love for them

At the end of the day for most parts of it.”

You still seem nervous if not as much as earlier

Aware of the facts if not in a place of believing.

So I lean in a little closer and tell you,

“It’s okay if you don’t like them at all either.

I don’t like some of them myself.”

And the butterflies giggle into dawn above the clouds.

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