Small Talk: The Dress
Niece – There.
Me – Yup. There it is. Wow.
Niece – It’s my princess dress.
Me – I know, it just looks a little … different. On Aadhi.
Niece – Ya. Because he’s Aadhi.
Me – Right. And Aadhi, dude, you’re wearing that to the birthday party, are you?
Niece – He says yes.
Me – Did he though? It sounded like mice or something.
Niece – Should he wear wings but?
Me – Um … you know, about this dress thing–
Niece – I think he should wear wings.
Me – Well, why don’t we ask Aadhi what he wants. Aadhi, do you really, really, REALLY, want to wear that dress to the birthday party?
Niece – And wings. He says yes.
Me – It sounds different than the noise he made before. Aadhi, dude, nod like this if you really want to wear the dress.
Niece – And wings.
Me – Are you sure? Like really sure?
Niece – See? He wants to.
Me – Why do I feel like I’m going to get in trouble for this?
Niece – Why? Did you say bum?
Me – Some people might not like him wearing a dress.
Niece – Why?
Me – Because … well, some people might not like that he’s a boy and he’s wearing your dress.
Niece – But that’s because he doesn’t have his own dress.
Me – Aadhi, you realize some people might say mean things to you? Or make fun of you? For wearing a dress?
Niece – Who people?
Me – Like, I feel, so many people.
Niece – I thought you said boys could wear dresses. Your friend wears dresses you said.
Me – Yeah but … I mean this is different.
Niece – Because Aadhi doesn’t have a beard.
Me – No, because … Aadhi, listen. Let me call your mom and ask her.
Niece – Ask her what?
Me – If he can wear your princess dress to the party.
Niece – Is it bad?
Me – No, it’s just … let me ask her. I think your mom’s number is–
Niece – Aadhi’s mom is in Thailand.
Me – Oh. It might be weird if I call her in Thailand to ask if it is okay if her son wears your princess dress to a birthday party. No?
Niece – You said it wasn’t bad.
Me – It’s not, dude, really. It’s just– whose party is it?
Niece – Aaryan.
Me – Okay, let me call his mom and ask if it’s okay.
Niece – I’m also wearing a dress but.
Me – Yeah, that’s not what people will have a problem with though.
Niece – You said it wasn’t bad.
Me – Dude, it is not bad. No matter what happens with this, Aadhi wearing a dress is not bad, okay? Now, which one is Aaryan’s mom — do I like her?
Niece – No.
Me – Great. This should be a fun conversation.
Me – Oh my hecking god.
Niece – What she said.
Me – That was the longest hecking phone call of my entire life.
Niece – What she said but.
Me – Well, after having a family conference which, for some reason, involved assorted second cousins in Delhi, it was decided that Aadhi shouldn’t be allowed to wear a dress to the party.
Niece – Why but.
Me – Because it might make other boys wear dresses, too.
Niece – We bring dresses for everyone then.
Me – What do they think this is, some kind of viral fever?
Niece – Are they mad I’m wearing a dress, too?
Me – No, you’re fine. And they seem fine with Aadhi wearing wings. As long as he’s wearing pants or shorts with them.
Niece – But I can’t wear pants or shorts.
Me – No, you can.
Niece – Why.
Me – I don’t know. There are those who think you can’t wear pants or shorts though. FYI.
Niece – We should wear nothing.
Me – No, definitely not that. Ever.
Niece – I don’t know what’s happening.
Me – So, here’s the deal. Aadhi can wear the wings, pants or shorts, but no dress. You can wear anything.
Niece – I wear my plastic bag dress then.
Me – You can’t wear that.
Niece – You said–
Me – Dude, that’s literally just a plastic bag. You cannot wear a plastic bag to a party. Your mom will shave off my eyebrows.
Niece – Can I shave off my eyebrows?
Me – No.
Niece – Can I shave off Aadhi’s eyebrows?
Me – No, dude. What the heck?
Niece – Aadhi wants to wear the dress but.
Me – Aadhi, you can totally wear the dress anytime here, whenever you want.
Niece – Okay.
Me – But if you want to go to the party–
Niece – We stay here.
Me – But I thought you guys were excited to go. I thought there was going to be pizza.
Niece – It’s fine. We will wear dresses and stay here.
Me – Okay. We can order pizza, I guess.
Niece – And we can dance.
Me – Sure, why not.
Niece – And do adding-subtracting. With big numbers.
Me – Wow, when you guys party, you don’t fool around.
Niece – Will you also do?
Me – Adding-subtracting? Absolutely not.
Niece – With big numbers?
Me – Definitely not with big numbers.
Niece – You can watch us then.
Me – Sure, that sounds like a lot of fun. You’re absolutely sure you don’t want to go? We still can, if you want.
Niece – No. We stay here. We can do adding-subtracting and dance.
Me – Sounds like a good time to me.
Niece – Ya. It will be.
Small Talk chronicles conversations between the author and her niece that could, in an alternate universe or in this one, be real.