Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bauvard, Morsels

Được đăng bởi Amanda Carter vào lúc 9:00 PM
Second Cousins

The perpetually estranged. They are heard about; news travels to us of them. Even in well-connected families we know them only vaguely, in outline. We imagine their children over the phone, form a semblance of their features and hope they don’t take after the foreign side of the gene pool: the family must spread far, undiluted.
There is a second cousin in Nova Scotia. The northerly climate has made her resilient, but the people have made her soft. Or maybe him. Blair. Even the name conforms, betrays its roots. Still, someone keeps in touch. A border uncle.
In Montana, second cousins run the tractors. They are given the standard fee like all the rest, but they get to eat at the big house with the Grandmatroness. They do not ride the tractors, ever since one (a city slicker) marred his hand. They merely watch over the tractors, make sure they function smoothly, fill them with oil and clean them after use, pick out stray pieces of hay.
Second-cousins are seen at family reunions, mostly in the next circle over. They are talked to briefly; conversation is kept on general topics, events often repeated. Each time the script is smoother but delivered more and more by rote, without feeling.
Second cousins inspire our habits of familiarity. They stand at the threshold of civilization, preparing us for the true strangers as we hold our nuclear families under our armpits.
After we see them, we forget them. The old boundaries of politeness and intimacy are reestablished. The existence of second-cousins outside the reunion is alluded to, but seldom imagined. Photos are sent, happiness assumed.
Second cousins do not feel pain. If they feel embarrassment it is only when we interfere.
That we are second-cousins too is below our awareness. An extended family is not a tree, but a flowering shrub, with each blooming bud dangling alone, blowing brightly. A passerby gathers them into a clump in his hand. Wilting in the vase, the buds are closer than they ever were in life.
At reunions, we structure our conversations around food so that there is always something to fill our mouth with. Weight is gained. That part we did not expect.

Family Quotes And Sayings by Bauvard, Morsels

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