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This Story Left Us Tired, Hungry, And Craving Cheese Pizza

, , , , , , | Related | December 5, 2021

We’re visiting family for a week. One day, my older aunt decides she wants to take her nieces on an outing. I’m an adult who still lives at home, my sister has just turned sixteen, and we’re both autistic. My sister also has severe medical needs which mean she must be with a fully trained adult at all times — meaning me or my dad — and the backpack containing her medical equipment weighs about 12 kilos.

We’re going to a museum, getting a bus at about 11:00. Since my aunt has said she is “treating” us, I assume that includes food. You know what they say about assumptions.

I haven’t had the best night of sleep due to my sister’s SATs machine alarming a few times. We don’t think to pack cash or water bottles, but we do remember to eat a quick breakfast.

The trouble begins when we arrive at the bus stop with a couple of minutes to spare. I’m looking at the timetable to practise reading it, and it looks like the next bus to the place we’re going won’t arrive until 11:55.

Me: “[Aunt]? Is this the right one? It’s saying the bus isn’t for nearly an hour and we missed the one that came, like, five minutes ago.”

Aunt: “Oh, that’s wrong. My app said there’d be one at eleven.”

Me: “But it says the timetable was updated last month. Shouldn’t it be right?”

Aunt: “Well, it’s not what my app says. Don’t worry about it. Anyway, the bus should be here any minute now.”

I spend the next hour of waiting listening to her complain about how late the bus is and then trying to make sure she doesn’t wander off too far from the bus stop with my sister. At one point, I have to leave the bus stop to walk over to them.

Me: “Look, [Sister], I know you really want to look for the bus with [Aunt]. But my neck’s starting to cramp from twisting to watch you, so can you please come and wait at the bus stop with me?”

Sister: *Disappointed* “Okay.”

Aunt: “Oh, there’s no need for that. We’re just—”

Me: “Daddy said I’m in charge of [Sister] when it comes to her medical stuff, and part of that means she needs to be where I can easily see her.”

This shuts her up, and we head back to the bus stop without her. The bus arrives on time, but at this point, I’m getting really hungry and trying really hard not to snap at anyone.

When we get off, our aunt is trying to make us hurry up because we’re going to be late. It is really hard to walk fast when you have a heavy backpack on your back and it’s a hot day and you haven’t had a drink in a while. Even so, I’m going as fast as I can and my sister stops to wait for me frequently. I can barely talk because I need to focus on breathing and walking, and the one time I mention lunch, I’m brushed off due to our lateness. She says we can eat afterward.

We get in with basically no issues, but our aunt is trying to rush us through the outside section of the museum so we can walk around the “castle” that’s in the centre. The only reason we’re not literally running is because [Sister] keeps stopping to read all the signs. I’m perfectly okay with this; it’s why we came, after all, and her stopping means I can keep up even if I’m not able to stop to read the signs.

Eventually, we reach a bench surrounded by many, many signs, and we’re “allowed” to take a break. I put the medical bag on the bench and nearly collapse next to it. It’s at this point that my aunt takes out a water bottle and starts having a drink. Normally, I’m quite squicked out at the idea of sharing a water bottle, but at this point, I’m too exhausted to care.

Me: “Do you… water… please?”

Aunt: “Oh, of course! Here, let me pour some into the lid for you.”

The water is warm, but it’s liquid so it’s good. I then notice my sister, who hasn’t noticed that the water exists, and feel a little guilty that I didn’t think of her first.

Me: “[Sister]. Water?”

She nods and comes running over. We purposefully only drink a couple of lids of the water so that we have some for later. After we’ve finished, she goes to pick up her backpack.

Me: “Huh? Why are you—”

Sister: “We said we’d switch at the halfway point.”

Me: “Oh… yeah.”

It’s not the halfway point yet, but I’m too selfish to point that out, and I let her carry the bag as we walk around the gardens at a much slower pace.

Just before we reach the “castle” itself (it’s a glorified mansion), there’s a rest area set up under a gazebo.

Aunt: “How about we stop here and have a drink before we head in?”

We all agree, so we go wait in the queue. We order drinks first, and just before my aunt can claim that’s all we want, I speak up.

Me: “Can I have a packet of crisps?”

It was the first thing I spotted. My aunt and sister take their time to look at the food menu and order.

We sit down at a picnic bench and the food is brought out. At this point, I notice what they ordered was cake. I should’ve tried to insist we got proper food for lunch, but my aunt is paying so I’m trying not to complain. Mentally, I’m complaining a lot. My crisps are almost stale and my lemonade is American-style. But we’re hungry and thirsty enough to eat and drink everything anyway.

The museum itself is great and we do enjoy looking around. Then, we leave and [Aunt] suggests we go get something from the gift shop. Yet again, I assume she is offering to get us something, and I really should’ve known better by this point of the day.

As we approach the register, my aunt tells the employee that she isn’t getting anything and waits for us outside, leaving me there with my fudge and my sister with her little toy fox. I don’t want to have to tell my little sister that she has to put the fox back. Thankfully, I did bring along my credit card, but there’s a small fee for using it.

Sister: “How much?”

Me: “Huh? For the fox?”

Sister: “Yeah.”

Me: “Does it not say on the label?”

Sister: “Oh, it does. So I need to pay you [price].”

Me: *Angrier than I should be* “No.”

Sister: *Upset* “Huh? Why?”

Me: “Um… I’m paying for it.”

Sister: “Yeah, I’ll pay you back later?”

Me: “Nope. It’s like a present. You don’t gotta pay me back.”

Sister: *Happily* “Okay!”

Needless to say, I’m more than a little annoyed at my aunt, but I don’t actually have any right to be. She never said she’d buy us anything, after all, and she’s already bought the museum tickets, the bus tickets, and the food, so how dare I complain about her not paying for souvenirs?

We meet back up with our aunt, and my sister asks about lunch. It’s about 16:00 (4:00 pm) now. She has texted my dad and her sister about dinner, but they haven’t gotten back to her. She’s complaining a lot.

Aunt: “How am I supposed to know when you two need to be back? Where are we even going for dinner tonight?”

Me: “I think they said something yesterday about [Restaurant] at 19:00-ish (7:00 pm)?”

Aunt: “Well, they really need to plan this better. I can’t get you lunch now or you won’t eat dinner.”

Me: “I’m actually kinda hungry. You hungry, too, [Sister]?”

She nods, but our aunt is still going off on a rant.

Me: “Hey, [Aunt]. How about we stop for just a snack? We’ve been eating quite late while here anyway, so we should still have room for dinner.”

She agrees, and we stop at a cafe that’s actually ridiculously expensive, and my sister orders cake again. I ask if she’s sure she doesn’t want a sandwich, but they do have weird fillings, so I leave it when she says she is.

When we get back to our younger aunt’s house, no one is home. My sister and I go inside, grab drinks, and kind of collapse on the sofa while our aunt tries to contact people. 

My sister also texts our dad asking about what is happening with food, and he texts back telling her to ask me. This confuses me, so I text him.

Me: “Am I expected to sort food for me and [Sister]?”

Then, Dad calls me.

Dad: “So, you haven’t had dinner yet?”

He’s talking really quietly, so I put him on speaker but forget to tell him.

Me: “No, [Aunt] said you two had planned somewhere for tonight?”

Dad: “[Younger Aunt] and I have actually just finished eating. We’re in [Town] right now and didn’t have signal.”

Me: “Oh, so [Aunt] was supposed to feed us.”

Dad: “Please tell me she didn’t hear you say that.”

Me: “Ah, well, she’s in the other room, but probably. Should I not have put you on speaker?”

Dad: “Great. Well, you’re an adult aren’t you?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Dad: “Then you’re going to need to take responsibility and make sure your sister is fed. [Younger Aunt] and I aren’t going to be back for at least an hour, and your grandad and [His Wife] have plans this evening.”

Me: *Panicked* “Okay.”

Dad: “[Younger Aunt] says there’s a pizza menu on the fridge.”

Me: “Great, thanks.”

I go through the doorway to the kitchen where [Aunt] is now complaining about how she didn’t know she was expected to sort dinner for the three of us. I bring the menu to my sister in the living room so she can choose what she wants. My aunt follows.

Sister: “The cheese one, please.”

Me: “Okay, do you want a nine-inch to yourself? Hmm, you’ll struggle to eat all of it, won’t you?”

Sister: “I don’t know.”

Aunt: “You could share with me, [Sister].”

Me: “I can get a twelve-inch and you can have half each?”

Sister: “Okay.”

Me: “Great. Then I’ll have—”

Aunt: “Oh, and I’ll have a twelve-inch meat feast, too.”

Me: “I’m sorry what?”

Aunt: “A meat feast, twelve inches.”

Me: “I thought we just decided you and [Sister] were going to share a cheese one?”

Aunt: “Yes.”

Me: “[Aunt]. I am not getting you a separate pizza as well as half of [Sister]’s.”

Aunt: “Oh… I could give you the money for it?”

Me: “Um, well… I guess, if you’re paying for your own pizza. Um, but I want you to get the money ready now before I phone it, okay?”

Aunt: “Oh, well, sure.”

She goes to get the exact amount.

Me: “Okay then, should I just get you the nine-inch, [Sister]?”

Sister: “I’ll have the twelve.”

Me: “Great. Okay, then. This is fine. Okay. So, it’s going to be your pizza, and you’re not allowed to share with [Aunt] until you’re full, okay?”

Sister: “Okay.”

I made the phone call, and I had to go find a random letter to get the address. [Aunt] paid for her pizza, and we waited. [Aunt] spent the entire time complaining about how unfair it was that no one communicated to her that she had to sort her own dinner that night and how she’d be having words with my dad later.

My sister ate all of her pizza. [Aunt] did not get a slice of that. I guess it goes to show how hungry she was when she normally can’t finish a nine-inch.