When we were kids, we used to play a game called "Let's All Come In". It had been one of Karen Brewer's kooky ideas, something we all just went along with. She loved to dress up as all these different characters that would come to stay in this big fancy hotel. Usually, I was the Bell Hop, but that was okay. If I had to be one of Karen's offsiders, in one of her roles, I would want to scream. Alot of the time she used to pick Andrew or Linny Papadakis.
Alas, one day I was the one wanted as her "pretend" husband. Once again she would play a beautiful rich Movie star, who married beneath her. I was supposed to be a Screenplay writer that she met on her last film. She would take my arm and lead me through the main entrance of our big house to a makeshift Reception Desk where Hannie Papadakis would write our names in the big book and give us a set of Keys. Andrew would then take our luggage and lead us away to our new room.
"Do you like being my husband?" Karen asked me?
"Well I, I guess." I wasn't sure how I was supposed to answer that question.
"Well usually husbands kiss their wives, like my Daddy does with your Mommy." She inched closer to me and took my hand in hers.
Was she kidding? "Does Linny kiss you?"
"Sometimes," Karen said with an embarrassed smile.
"Well what about Andrew?" I said, dreading the answer to this question.
"Ew! He's my brother!" She made a sour face.
Phew! I thought. There's hope of getting out of this after all. "Well aren't I your brother, too?"
"Not really, David Michael. Your Mommy married my Daddy, which makes us STEP brother and sister." Her explanation just made me more confused.
"So we're still brother and sister?" I dared to ask.
"No, No, NO! No silly, we're only Brother and sister because our parents got married. My Daddy and your Mommy. You have a Mommy and a Daddy, somewhere and I have my own Mommy and Daddy." I had no way of arguing myself out of that.
"We're STEP brother and sister not REAL brother and sister!" I smiled, because i finally understood it.
There was a long silence and I was hoping Karen had forgotten the thing she had asked me to do.
Karen broke the silence. "So are you going to kiss me like a husband and wife, or not?"
"Do I have to?" I squeaked. The thought of kissing a girl was making me heave. I was nine and she was eight. We were just kids and she wanted to kiss like adults.
"Yes," she said, grabbing my face and pulling me towards her, until our lips met. They were wet and sticky from the ice-cream, Kristy had given us. At first I was resisting and I couldn't wait until it was over, but then a new feeling washed over me. It started to feel nice and I was beginning to understand why my brothers, Charlie and Sam liked kissing girls so much.
It ended too soon and she pulled her lips away from mine. "Now change your clothes." She said. "I want you to be a sailor this time and I'll be a jazz singer." It was as if the kiss never happened. I found the sailor shirt in Karen's Dress-up box and threw it on over my old polo shirt. She buttoned it up, before she threw on another of her sparkly Dresses. Then she linked her arm in mine and I carried all the bags downstairs for another round of "Let's All Come In".