My Niece and I (Part Two of a Previously Indicated Two, Maybe Three Part Series, But Now Maybe as Much as a Sexogy [That’s a Double Trilogy, Man])
If you're new to this story, please click "My niece and I (part one of a two [or maybe three] part series)" on the left to get up to speed.
The moment Shabbos is over, I make my own Havdalah, throw on khakis and a sweater, and don my Neo-from-the-Matrix-length black wool coat, quickly buttoning it up. My shvugger walks in from Ma’ariv a moment later and he tells me that yes, it is perfectly cool for me to kidnap his daughter for part of the evening. Now I have to ask Chavie if she wants to come with me.
“Apple Store?” Chavie responds to my query with the dialect of those who hold their tongues while talking or are under 40-some-odd months old. She wonders for a moment, but quickly turns ebulliently ecstatic – “Ya!” she explodes. She starts saying a lot of things at a swift super-excited and gaggly pace to her mother and father – I can’t make it all out, but it sounds like she's listing all the yummy fruit she plans on picking out with me at the...um...the apple store.
Chavie’s mother bundles her up in pink, and I walk with her (Chavie) outside to the car. I help her into the back seat, in back of the driver’s side. The mall is about fifteen minutes away. I drive through the darkness towards the expressway and feel awkward. There is too much background noise from the road and the vent for me to really have a conversation with Chavie. I hope she’s not scared. If I were three years old and was being taken somewhere on a dead of winter night by a relative I only barely knew, ya, I’d be piss-scared.
I realize that I’m emitting negative vibes throughout the car. They’re permeating my niece's coat, clothes, and epidermis. They’re seeping past her blood-brain barrier, and the unconscious decision that I’m ‘the scary uncle’ is coalescing. I turn around hazardously to her (I must look like a mutant praying mantis in the dark), and virtually scream so that she can just hear me: “would you like me to put some music on, Chavie?” She nods, very sure that she does want music – that she needs music. And then I remember that there is no music. Sure, there’s FM; but nothing that Chavie’s mother would let her listen to – no Uncle Moishy or MBD. I lie and tell her that the CD player is broken.
“Why?” she asks.
- --Because there’s a CD stuck inside the player and it won’t come out.
- --Because somebody put gum inside of it.
- --Chavie, why did somebody put gum on the disc, causing it to get stuck inside the player?
“Because,” she says – as though I should have a fundamental built-in understanding of what the answer is.
With that ‘because’, I successfully end a string of ‘whys’ that could seriously continue till the sun goes supernova. Chavie’s mother (my sister) taught me this trick of taking the last thing you say to her daughter and flipping the onus of the ‘why’ back to her (Chavie). It’s eerie how well it works, but for now, it does.
There’s some mild traffic on the highway, so our predicted time in the car now looks like it is going to be more like twenty minutes. Of course, I’m telling Chavie every few minutes how we’ll be arriving in a few minutes, losing all the integrity this little three year old has for me by the second – you can’t win trust back; not when you mislead someone at such a young and deeply impressionable age.