Me: (in bed, daydreaming at night, practicing the fine art of escapism from chronic pain) Yah?
Hank: (noticing) Oh, am I interrupting you working on something for your story?
Me: Not at all. (cracking an eye open) What’s up, buttercup?
Hank: (bringing me a computer printout) I saw this on the fridge and I noticed it was a conta (bill). What is this?
Me: Oh, this is the flight itinerary for Aunt Kelly, Uncle Bryan, Connor and Aida to visit in TWO WEEEKSS! I am so excited. I can’t believe this is really real!
Hank: Oh, really? But the conta (bill)! This is like super expensive.
Me: This is what four plane tickets across the ocean cost and this isn’t even the full conta (bill). They had travel vouchers, meaning free flight credits, from Minnesota to Boston.
Hank: Where is Minnesota? And Where is Boston? And it says here they are flying into Lisbon?
Me: That is normal if you don’t fly out of Frankfort, Germany to have a layover in Lisboa before continuing on up to Porto.
Hank: And is says Lisbon and not Lisboa.
Me: Yes, because this itinerary is in English. Just like we say Inglaterra in Portuguese and England in English.
Hank: I guess that makes sense.
Me: Bring over, carefully, my computer please. I will pull up a map. They are traveling from the other side of the Mississippi River…
Me: And then they stop in Boston for a layover, then over the Atlantic, then land in Lisbon…
Me: And then up to us.
Hank: (inspecting the map) And where was I born?
Me: You were born in Southern, Indiana. Here. In Bloomington where your papa got his PhD and I studied Art.
Hank: (looking back at the printed flight itinerary) So this isn’t the conta (bill) for the whole trip.
Hank: It would have been even more expensive if they didn’t have that voucher.
Hank: This is a lot of money, mama.
Me: It is. This is what it cost for four people to travel to us and NOT in peek tourist season.
Hank: (thinking rather loudly)
Hank: We will make it worth it, won’t we?
Me: Of course. It could rain every day, sheets and sheets, and it would still be worth it because we will be together.
Hank: This conta (bill) is like, worth it, because it means they love us.
Me: And we love them. Memories are priceless.
Hank: Okay. (getting up to leave, turning back, leaning against the door frame) I understand now.
Me: You understand what?
Hank: I understand now why we don’t visit America more and people don’t visit us as much. I thought it was just because you are sick, but I understand now it isn’t just that, because we’re four too. Our family is also four plane tickets.
Hank: What is that thing you say? The thing they say in America? About the lunch?
Me: There is no free lunch.
Hank: (waving the itinerary in the air) This is like that, isn’t it?
Me: It is.
Hank: Love should be free.
Me: It is and sometimes it isn’t, but love is always worth it.
Hank: You should get a voucher for love trips.
Me: (roaring with laughter) Then who would pay for airplanes and fuel and in flight meals and salaries of pilots and the fight attendants both TRAINED TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.
Hank: (shrugs, mind on something else) We are going to have the best time with them.
Me: We are. Now stop worrying about money, put that itinerary back on the fridge and lets come up with a list of things you want to show Aida and Conner in Guimarães. You will be their tour guide!
Hank: (bouncing off) Okay, I will get my notebook. Be right back.