As I sat in the dark with only the flicker of the TV, I heard her footfalls. A little person had violated bedtime rules. To make matters worst, she was roaming the halls of her parental citadel. From behind the veil of darkness, the brown cherub appeared.‘Isla, why aren’t you asleep’? I inquired as every responsible adult should do.
‘I can’t sleep’! She replied haughtily.
Her voice always makes me chuckle. It is raspy. Her mom has a deep voice, but Islas voice is gravelly…and beautiful, coming from her heart and lacking in pretense.
‘Ok come sit down’.
Her face brightened into a toothless grin. ‘The last airbender’ was on TV. I had planned to change the channel but decided against it, as this was a movie we could both watch. Instead, I went to the kitchen and got 2 pomegranate ice bars.
‘Thank you’ she said. She was happy. Her sisters and her mom were asleep. She knew that even if her mom woke up, and saw her watching movies, Uncle Kangsen would take the blame. All she had to do was relax, watch movies, and she would have gotten ‘one up on the man’. Okay, Isla is a good girl. She was probably just happy to hang out with me. When I was a kid, I would have been thinking of the fall guy. Then the fall guys fall guy. I was mischievous. My sisters kids are human, compared to me in my juvenescence.
‘Why can’t I sleep Uncle Kangsen?’ my niece frustratingly asked.
‘ I don’t know. Happens to me all the time’, I said.
She stared unconvincingly at me. I started laughing.
‘What’s so funny?’ she asked mildly annoyed.
‘You are’, I said mimicking her voice.
She sighed in frustration and returned her attention to the little bald white boy controlling the four elements.
She had changed so much. She was more articulate. She was taller. And she was still a fiery ball of passion and independence.
‘Why don’t you try counting backwards from 100’, I suggested nonchalantly. I had to sell it. Isla and her sister are becoming regular victims to my pranks. As a consequence, she is weary of any suggestions, and tries with the utmost vehemence to disprove my tales.
Wait. No arguing. No debates. Ok.
Isla started counting. I was laughing on the inside. My plan was to make her restart if she made any mistakes. I figured her frustration would be the highlight of my day. Her mom was a victim of my japes too. Her descendants shall be pranked by my children for all eternity.
Ok. So Isla kept counting… and she started falling asleep, and on her face I saw God. It remains one of the most hauntingly beautiful things I’ve ever seen. She was laying on the couch holding a teddy bear. What I found most amazing was the fact that she’d start to drift off, but then wake up so as not to loose count. In that moment, I saw all the wonderful things my niece was, is, and the great things she could be. A doctor? A futurist? A lawyer? A protector of life? A leader of Mankind? Whatever destiny reveals, I knew she’d always kind and protective. She’d always be an isle of hope in the darkest of circumstances.
She never got to one. Into the realm between heaven and earth, were babies to be born fly, she went.
Sweet dreams, daughter of my mothers’ daughter.
Blood of my blood.