|Английски оригинал||Перевод на български|
“MARGOT CALLED WHEN YOU WERE out today,” my dad says over dinner.
Dinner is just salad. Salad for me and Daddy and cereal for Kitty. There were supposed to be chicken breasts, but I forgot to take them out of the freezer this morning, so there’s just lettuce and carrot with balsamic dressing. Daddy’s supplementing his with two boiled eggs, and I have a piece of buttered toast. Some dinner. Cereal and lettuce. I need to get to the grocery store stat.
Since Margot left, I’ve only spoken to her twice, and once was over video chat with all of us crowded around my laptop. I didn’t get to ask her about the good stuff—the real deal, all the adventures she’s been going on and the people she’s been meeting. I think I heard that British people drink absinthe at pubs. I wonder if she’s tried it by now. I’ve e-mailed Margot so many times and have only gotten back one e-mail in return so far. I understand that she is busy, but the least she can do is e-mail back once a day. For all she knows, I could be dead in a ditch. “What did she say?” I ask as I cut my carrot into tiny pieces.
“She’s thinking about trying out for the shinty club team,” my dad says, wiping salad dressing off his chin.
“What’s shinty?” Kitty asks me, and I shrug.
“It’s a Scottish sport that’s similar to field hockey,” Daddy explains. “It started out as safe swordfight practice in medieval Scotland.”
Boring. Before Daddy can get started on telling us more about medieval Scotland, I say, “Let’s send Gogo a care package! Stuff she can’t get over there.”
“Yeah!” Kitty cheers.
“What should we send?” I ask. “I say we all contribute something.”
Daddy chews and taps his finger to his chin. “I’ll send gummy vitamins,” he says. “And Advil. I think she only took a small bottle of Advil, and you know how she gets migraines sometimes.”
“I approve.” I point my fork at Kitty. “And what about you?”
“I’ve got something I could send,” Kitty says. “Should I go get it?”
Daddy and I look at each other and shrug. “Sure.”
Kitty comes running back with a picture she’s drawn of Margot. Petting a dog. The exact breed of dog Kitty wants. Akita. I have to laugh.
Kitty frowns. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” I say.
“Do you think it’s good enough?” Kitty asks me. “Good enough to hang up on her wall?”
“Definitely,” I say.
“No, I want you to really look at it,” she says. “Critique it. I can always do better. Margot won’t want it if it’s not my best work.”
“Kitty, it definitely is,” I say. “Why would I lie?”
She sighs. “I just don’t know if it’s finished yet.”
“Only the artist knows,” Daddy says with a sage nod.
“What do you think about the dog?” she asks him. “Isn’t it cute?”
Daddy takes the picture from me and looks at it closely. “Yes, the dog is undeniably a good-looking dog.”
“I’m Asian too,” she says. Kitty sits back down and takes a bite of cereal and tries not to smile. She is doing her inception thing. Planting positive associations about dogs in Daddy’s head. The kid never rests. She always has an angle.
“What else is going in the care package?” Kitty wants to know.
I start ticking off with my fingers. “Tampons because I don’t know if they have our brand in Scotland, flannel pj’s, thick socks, Girl Scout cookies—”
“Where are we going to get Girl Scout cookies this time of year?” Daddy asks.
“I have a box of Thin Mints hidden in the freezer,” I say.
He gives me a hurt look. “Hidden from who?” Thin Mints are his favorite. If there are Thin Mints in the house, forget about it. Daddy is a Thin Mint Monster.
I give an enigmatic shrug. “Also I’m sending Margot’s favorite kind of roller-ball pen, and . . . I think that’s it.”
“Don’t forget her brown boots,” my dad reminds me. “She specifically requested we send her brown boots with the laces.”
“Did she?” I was hoping Margot hadn’t noticed she’d left them behind. “When did she say that?”
“She e-mailed me yesterday.”
“I’ll see if I can find them.”
My dad says, “Weren’t you wearing them this weekend?” and at the same time Kitty says, “They’re in your closet.”
I throw up my hands. “All right, all right!”
“If you get the box together tonight, I can drop it off at the post office tomorrow morning on my way to work,” Daddy offers.
I shake my head. “I want to send the scarf I’ve been knitting, and it won’t be ready in time. Maybe in another week or two?”
Slurping her milk, Kitty waves a hand at me and advises, “Just give up on the scarf already. Knitting isn’t your thing.”
I open my mouth to argue and then close it. Maybe she’s right. If we wait for my scarf to be done to send the care package, Margot will probably be out of college already. “All right,” I say. “We’ll send the care package sans scarf. I’m not saying I’m giving up on knitting, though. I’ll keep chugging along on it and have it ready for you for your Christmas gift, Kitty.” I smile at her sweetly. “It’s pink. Your favorite.”
Kitty’s eyes go wide with horror. “Or Margot. You could also give it to Margot.”
* * *
Kitty slides a piece of paper under my door that night. It’s her Christmas list. It’s only September—Christmas is still months away! “Puppy” is written at the top in capital block letters. She also wants an ant farm and a skateboard and a TV in her room. Yeah, that TV’s not going to happen. I could buy her the ant farm, though. Or maybe I could talk to Daddy about the puppy. She hasn’t said so, but I think she misses Margot a lot. In a way, Margot is the only mother she’s known. It must be hard for Kitty having her so far away. I’ll just have to remind myself to be more patient with her, more attentive. She needs me now.
I go to her room and climb into her bed. She’s just turned the lights off but is already halfway to sleep. “What if we got a kitten?” I whisper.
Her eyes fly open. “No way in heck.”
“Don’t you think we’re more of a kitten family?” Dreamily I say, “A fluffy gray-and-white kitten with a bushy tail. We could name him Prince if it’s a boy. Ooh, or Gandalf the Gray! Wouldn’t that be cute? Or if it’s a girl, maybe Agatha. Or Tilly. Or Boss. It really depends on her personality.”
“Quit it,” Kitty warns. “We’re not getting a cat. Cats are blah. They’re also very manipulative.”
Impressed, I say, “Where’d you learn that word?”