The best time to connect with your children is usually around the dinner table. They tell you about their day, you lock eyes, you eat, they talk some more, and it’s all nice and pleasant. Conversational even. For amateurs!! You want to hear the real deal about your kids – short of hacking their social media accounts – you do that by driving them places. The car has become the confessional of our modern times. They come into the car alone or with their friends, they acknowledge you at first, then as if you throw on Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, they forget you are there. You become the driver, and too much is eventually shared in the confines of the moving vehicle.
A disclaimer: Kids, you would think that there must be an agreed pact somewhere roughly stating that ‘what is said in the car stays in the car’ but you must expect that said pact is voided when your mom blogs. And has been ignoring her blog for so long so she needs material. And you’re it. Suck it up.
Here goes. Today’s victim is Monya (nothing personal, I just spend more time with her now that the older two are away).
[In Car. Daytime. Dubai.]
So, how was school today?
I have a new friend.
His name is Tim.
Is he new to the school?
Yeah, he just came to Dubai. He is from Rwanda. Wait, maybe Burundi. No, I think it’s Rwanda. It’s where they have Horizon.
It’s where they have what?
Oh, my friend Tim is so smart. He uses fancy words to talk. He told me that in his country, Rwanda. they have a horizon.
No way. And what exactly is a horizon?
It’s a place where the sun sets and it’s beautiful.
Awesome. And he said they only have that in Rwanda?
Yeah. I would love to go see it.
(Turn your head sideways, Dubai is full of horizon, I thought, but didn’t want to burst her bubble. I wonder if they have noon and gravity in Rwanda.)
[Car. Sunset. Dubai. Beach Road]
How was your day in school?
I love Jamie.
Um, okay. That was from the left field. Which Jamie? The same Jamie of last year who didn’t come to your birthday and threw your card in the bin Jamie? The boy who wears the same blue cardigan every single day of the year Jamie?
Mom, you don’t understand. I don’t love him because he is smart. I love him because he is beautiful. (She is so objectifying poor Jamie)
Oh, that makes it all better, I guess. (dripping with sarcasm)
(Dreamily): I just am, in love, a girl in love. With Jamie. All I can think of is Jamie. I keep staring at him, all through recess that sometimes he turns and gets upset. But today he said: Hi Monya. I loved it so much when he said hi. (long sigh, I swear)
You mean you stare at that boy all through recess? It’s so weird. Don’t you play?
I follow him around when he plays and I just look at him. He is so beautiful. I want to marry him when we get bigger. He is the boy for me.
But you haven’t met that many boys. There might be more good looking boys in the world. And smart ones too.
You don’t understand, Mom. He is the one for me.
I couldn’t help but search for the horizon and think of Rwanda.