Kansas City – the best place I could possibly be for the shortest break Arizona State could possibly give. I don’t take classes Friday and we’re off Monday, Tuesday. That gives me five days to soak up home and fall – a season foreign to the desert.
There’s nothing more welcoming than three pups flying towards you when you walk through the door. Mack, Cujo and Pup (his real name is Boomer but it just hasn’t stuck for me) gave me three thousand kisses each the second I walked in. What a trio. Since my return home, I, the prodigal son, back from Arizona State for a few days, have found a lot of reasons making me glad to be home. I’ve also already had three brisk days to remind me why fall in Kansas City is the best time of year and place to be… The most inviting setting for a college kid homecoming I could ask for.
Well, the Royals. That’s a big one. Coming home to your underdog, who held the record for the longest team-to-playoff drought out of all four major sports, and seeing them win has curled KC into one giant smile. The heartstrings of the rest of the country have been pulled and KC is turning heads and FEELIN’ the love. From the Plaza to Westport every storefront has been painted Royal Blue. The streets are freckled blue and the little-engine-that-could team couldn’t have a more proud city behind it. I’ve watched the first two games of the series curled up on my couch with my three pups on my lap and mom, dad and sis squished beside me. But the third game, which might be postponed until tomorrow due to some drippy inclement weather, I will be at, in the flesh. I’ve been chewing my nails and scanning the town for the best, warmest Royals t-shirt I could find, since I got the text: “We have tickets to the game Monday -Dad” – booyah.
I’ve had some meals Arizona could not give me, too. Urban Table set a plate full of the best meal of the day in front of me Saturday morning – breakfast. I’ve stopped at Hi-Hat three times and I’m actually headed there in about an hour to grab my most favorite and most familiar cup of coffee. I don’t know if it’s the world’s greatest, but there is no place better to sit and sip my iced vanilla latte (yes, iced, even in this weather) than the closet sized brick building Hi-Hat. Not to mention I’m a regular, even now that I go to school in Arizona, cute short brown haired barista always remembers me, asks me how my mom, another regular, is doing and rings me up without asking. I don’t even have to tell her my order; I’m a regular.
KC has the best leave-changing season in the country. If not, than I’ve got to see the best because truly, there is no where more beautiful than little KC in fall. It’s like a painting, more so like the towel or palette the painter blots on: trees capped in golds, yellows, oranges and reds and splattered with leftover greens from the season before. Fall comes and goes in some places and in others, like Arizona, only exists in the slow downwards trickle in temperature. But in KC, fall steamrolls in, covering the entire city over night in bold colors, brisk breezes and layered clothes. When I head back to school Wednesday morning, the Arizona heat will warm me up but it’ll only be a matter of time before I’m longing for a day cold enough to wear jeans and a snuggle up in a my sweatshirt, a day that beckons me to curl up on the couch and wrap myself in some big blanket. But just as I start crying for fall, it’ll start tip toeing out of the city. Back home, fall comes as quick as it goes, abandoning people in the exact reason I ran off to the desert for college – winter.
—later that evening—
To fill the void of the rained out Royals game, my family and I dipped out around 6 for a late night movie. My 14-year-old much more mature than I ever will be sister asked, “what is it rated?” My dad responded, “no worries, Aubrey said it’s PG-13.” *I check ratings…R for 8/10 severe nudity, 7/10 for language and yelling of the c-word four times, 7/10 for violence, throat where throat is slit.* Little sister exclaims, “oh shoot I just checked this out, it’s rated R for a lot of stuff!!” *Dad glares.* Well, regardless of my sister’s fears and my father’s worries, it was a great movie. I managed to predict the sex scenes that would escalate quickly and slip a hand over my sister’s eyes, which was easy because, unlike 14-year-old me, she wanted no part of the raunchy scenes. Talk about a bad-ass-bitch. Now that’s how you put a cheater in his place. It was one of those of course I have to go to the bathroom because this is the best movie ever and, after returning from bathroom, being like “fill me in oh my god what happened.” By the end, I was torn between wanting to murder her and wanting to be her, but creepily I was leaning toward the latter. Whatever, see it for yourself. It boasts a 4.5/5 on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s reprehensible as hell. Now I’m back home with a movie popcorn headache sitting with mom and sis watching them munch on leftover lasagna.
Speaking of I’d like to stomp another divot into the field of reasons why I’m so happy I got a chance to fly away to KC for the weekend: mom’s lasagna. She hasn’t made any other food this trip yet, so that’s why I’m only mentioning one dish. But truly, any mom-made meal leaves a college kid swooning. Now that we’ve checked off mom, I’ve got to mention dad: the wisest, most always-right person I know. From which boyfriends were going to be duds to what chances I should take, he’s always right. While 9 times out of 10 I hustle into my own opinion and kick him to the curb, he always ends up being right and I’m always slightly ashamed but mostly comforted in the fact that I have an all-knowing father. Gracie? The definition of 13 going on 30… except, I think she’s 14 now, but whatever. It’s definitely possible to look UP to your little sister, because I know I do every day… half because of her height (she stands about 2 inches taller than her 20-year-old-sister) and half because she’s a queen. Gracie is the single most put together young lady I have ever met. She does her hair and makeup every day and flawlessly might I add. From YouTube tutorials to makeup-product binge buying, she’s an artist. She does my makeup for me, still, and taught me how to put on eyeshadow this summer. But there’s more to her than all this. Uptight and rigid at times, practically begging for me to give her a shot just to loosen her up, she’s a diamond. Unique, definitely, but also impossible to penetrate, impossible to pull anything out of that bold, brilliant brain of hers. She’s beautiful and I love being with her for these brief periods in that it makes our time together more precious, the bickering less frequent and her growing up so noticeable.
Game day tomorrow. The postponing of victory will only make it sweeter. Just kidding, fingers crossed. Go Royals!! I’ll be back to the desert at the crack of dawn Wednesday morning, just enough time to grab a cup of coffee before I have to go over an exam with my statistics professor. Can’t wait!
Bye KC (almost) and goodnight world.
*blows out “Fall Foliage” Pickwick & Co. candle*