I was chatting with my niece the other day, in the most modern of ways, on Whatsapp. She lives in London and I live in Vancouver. She is the person who saved my life by Skyping the entire 3 hours of the Oscars for me when we had no cable and we discovered too late that not everything is streamed live at which point I thought I might die. So I shall remain forever in her debt as the Oscars is one of my greatest, guiltiest pleasures.
Yesterday’s conversation touched on a little bit of everything: books – her – John Irving – me – American Gods by Neil Gaimon – followed by the awesome-ness of David Foster Wallace to English jerks who stand nice girls up – topped by aunty who had a history of dating nothing but jerks, topping niece-y pie by relating story of having a chair pulled out from under her in front of a group of people to the guy who went to the video store and didn’t come back for three days -at this point I felt like I was doing a bit of story topping but fabulous niece responded simply by saying it looked like she had a lot of great things to look forward to, and off to the Syrian war we went.
War sucks and is unnecessary, she says. I agree. Like Iraq, everything is framed by Iraq for me. A big fake war. But also really real. And it occurs to me how young she would have been when that started. And off we went to Kosovo. And we mutually decide that the world is complicated. Yes, very complicated indeed. And she wants to know why it’s not more simple. like cake. Cake or no cake?. Ya, I agree. But secretly I feel my heart skip that little beat of excitement at seeing in her that ability to distill the world in a certain way. Incisive, I think and I like how she uses words sometimes, words that suddenly make you see and then I realize that her mother, my sister, has instilled in her, passing through her own body to her daughter’s, that love of words, that passion for books and the ability to witness, and shape life like art.
So we continue – “Cake or no cake?”
I say “let’s have cake! Here’s to Cake.”
She says: “Always! Cheers! Here Here Cake!
I say “Kampai”
and she “Salute”
and then finally me because Aunty likes to have the last word “Let them eat cake! Prost”
And then, in that most modern of ways, we emoticon each other to death. Our symbol of celebration and love for each other.