With luck on our side, my brother and his wife were in Florida and we had one day to hang out. I hadn’t seen them for a year and a half and I was so excited. Like overgrown kids, we started the day at a video arcade and had a blast. At the end, we had won some tickets which could be exchanged for prizes so we went to the counter. I think they have the same stuff they had in the 80’s because I recognized everything from the laffy taffy and the gummy burger to the bouncy plastic thingies you turn inside out. And then we saw the silly novelty stuff. My brother said: “remember how I used to bug you with that?” (one of those paper rolls you can blow into someone’s face). Yes, I do remember. And I remember the ice cream sponge you can pop into someone’s face, and the sticky hands you can slap someone’s face with. When I was little he tried all of them on me, and when he did I was sure he was the meanest person in the world. Who would have known he would become one of my favorite people to spend time with?
After getting pizza and walking around beautiful Ybor city, we went to a pirate themed escape room. They had been to some in Mexico but Avri and I hadn’t, so we didn’t know what to expect. My sister in law has this contagious energy and joie de vivre that starts everything off on a high note. The mission was to find a treasure and to do that we had to find messages in bottles, treasures, locks and keys, skeletons, things hidden in the sand, decipher codes and clues and shout out everything we found and thought. We had so much fun, and best of all — we escaped! The staff said it’s a hard room and not many people manage to escape so, to my extremely competitive self, that was all I needed to hear.
We hugged and kissed and said goodbye as if we were going to meet again the next day, but it will be at least a couple of months until we do, and that is because of this trip and the free time we have. I didn’t realize that this would be one of the most difficult prices to pay when I was 18 and decided to leave home and live on the other side of the world.