Angelica Tillman’s Miami vacation was nearly ruined after the 26-year old forgot to plug her phone in after getting back from the club late last night. Waking up the next morning to find her cellphone nearly dead, the Virginia native briefly plugged it in to recharge while she changed, but ultimately had to leave her hotel room to meet her Aunt Jenna with only a 21% charge.
"I'll just have to conserve my battery," thought Angelica as she instinctively unlocked her phone and clicked on Instagram while waiting for the elevator to the lobby of her hotel. "Oh dammit!" she said to herself before realizing what she was doing. She was now at 18%.
Angelica left her hotel and pulled up directions to Lincoln Road, where she was going to meet her Aunt for brunch, but decided to just remember the three streets she needed to navigate rather than waste battery by doing turn-by-turn directions. Several minutes later, however, she had gotten lost and had to open Maps again. "I'm here!!" her Aunt texted to her as she turned onto Lincoln Road with only 6% battery. "Walking up now," she texted back, an act that somehow ate up another 3% battery.
By the time she arrived at the cafe and greeted Aunt Jenna, Angelica searched around her table to find that there wasn't a plug in sight. She briefly considered asking if they could go to a different restaurant, but decided not to since her Aunt had already ordered a mimosa and didn’t want to make a big deal about it since she hadn’t seen her in a while.
The brunch with Aunt Jenna was alright, although a bit awkward. She had moved to Miami after divorcing Angelica's ex-Uncle Jeff and spent the majority of the meal telling her young niece how her ex-husband drank too much and prevented her from achieving her dream of becoming an ophthalmologist’s assistant. She was so histrionic, it's no wonder her and mom don't get along anymore, Angelica thought. She knew her mom and Aunt Jenna hadn't really spoken in a few years, and thinks it was due to some loan her parents gave to her Aunt after the divorce that has still not been repaid. Her mother never talked about it and she didn't really want to ask about it anyway. Still, her Aunt seems like somehow a real fancy lady now and has a very nice purse and paid for brunch in cash, so maybe she is doing okay.
After brunch, Angelica's Aunt drove her to Wynwood, during which time she was able to plug in her phone to her Aunt's Mercedes. The car smelled like cigarettes, but she didn't mind and was just happy to be able to check her Facebook as it charged. "So are you seeing anyone?" her Aunt asked Angelica, the third time today. The answer was still "no."
"Do you want to have kids one day?" she followed the question. "Maybe one day. Not right now," Angelica answered. "Good, wait. Have fun. I had James too early." They sat in silence for the remainder of the trip.
When she got out of the car it was 12:20 PM and she had recharged to 16% battery, a charge which was quickly down to critical after several minutes of mural watching and taking selfies with her Aunt. "Hashtag BFFs" her Aunt kept saying, trying a little too hard, but still being very sweet.
"So how is my sister?" Aunt Jenna asked during a lull in the conversation, appearing to have been waiting for the right moment. "She's good. She's taking a creative writing class," Angelica answered.
"Oh that must be nice for her," said Aunt Jenna. "Does she ever talk about me?"
"No, not really. Sometimes she tells stories from when you two were kids or about Grandma and Pa."
"Oh. Was she upset you were coming to see me today?"
"No. She was happy about it. She wanted me to tell you hello," Angelica lied.
"Oh… tell her ‘hi’ too, I guess," said her Aunt, knowing her sister didn't send any greeting. "Listen, do you mind if I smoke?"
"No, of course not."
"Do you smoke?"
"Oh good. Don't tell your mom about this."
After walking around for several blocks to admire the street art, Aunt Jenna received a series of phone calls requiring her to walk away for between 5 and 15 minutes at a time, leaving Angelica to just sort of stand around. She occasionally pulled out her phone, which was back down to 4%, to check the time and look at a picture or two on Instagram.
"How is it going?" her mother had texted her.
"Good. Aunt Jenna say's hi," Angelica texted back.
"Call me later."
When Aunt Jenna returned from her call she was slightly out of breath and looked like she had been crying. "Is everything Okay?" Angelica asked.
"Yeah, of course. Listen, I have to meet someone for work a few miles away. It should only take an hour or two."
"Oh, okay. So do you want me to wait around here?" Angelica asked. "If you don't mind. Or you can take an Uber back to the Beach if you don't want to wait here."
"Oh, okay. Yeah, I can do that."
"Do you want money? Here is some money," Aunt Jenna said, handing her niece a hundred dollar bill.
“Oh, okay. Thanks.”
The two hugged and quickly Aunt Jenna left.
"She just left. She said she had to go meet someone for work," Angelica texted her mother.
Within seconds, her mother was calling:
"What do you mean she had to leave for work?"
"I don't know. She didn't give me any details."
"What does she do now?"
"I'm not sure. She said it was something in advertising but it wasn't really clear."
"So, what are you going to do?"
"I'll just take an Uber back to my hotel. Mom, why do you and Aunt Jenna not talk anymore? What happened?"
"I don't want to talk about it, Ang."
"Mom, I think I deserve to know. It's so weird, what is this all about?"
"Listen, after she left Jeff she asked your father and I to help…" Angelica's phone died.
"Fuck," sighed Angelica as she put her phone in her purse and walked around Wynwood looking for a taxicab or a plug.
Meanwhile, in Virginia, Angelica's mother, unaware that her daughter's phone had died, retold, for the first time in years, the entire disagreement that broke up the relationship between her and Jenna. As she came to an end to the story, waiting for her daughter to respond and hearing only silence she thought to herself, for the first time, that maybe she has always been a little too harsh on her sister and wondered if maybe it was time to reconnect.
"Angie? Angie? Are you there?" Angelica's mother asked.
Assuming her daughter had hung up because she could not believe that her mother would cut off ties with her sister over something so petty, Angelica's mother began to cry.
"Heard you and Angie had a good time. Hope you're well. Love you," Angelica's mother texted her sister several minutes later, their first contact in 11 years.