The last few days have been a whirlwind of slobbery kisses from elderly relatives. The Golden Boy and the Princess have developed an elaborate hierarchy, rating family kisses based on slobberiness and wetness, and scream with laughter while pretending to kiss each other and others. And I, with traumatizing memories of being wetly kissed by long-deceased relatives still  fresh in my mind, cannot bear to rebuke them.

Why? Why do we lose the ability to kiss our loved ones in a non-wet, decent manner as we grow older? I was seven years old and  I can remember  clearly visiting elderly relatives after several years of absence from Iran, and I can still feel the stubbly bristly wet grey chin hairs scratching my cheek, loose wet creased lips moving against my face. Ugh.  Now I am nearing forty, and still, I am powerless, paralyzed by this social obedience  which stiffens our backbones and extends our faces, decorated with  rigid smiles, towards our attacking kissers. Why are their whole faces and lips so bloody damp? Dear great aunt/uncle/etc etc, please dry your faces and lips before bearing down on my children and I, screaming and kissing.

The Princess and the Golden boy share the social obedience and submit to the wet kisses, but they have a more pleasant disposition than myself, and make a whole joke out of it. “Ali Agha thinks I’m an ice cream!!!” screams the Golden boy happily, days after visiting Ali Agha. “I’m Ali Agha, I’m coming to kiss you!” He hangs out his tongue and starts chasing the Princess. They cackle wickedly. I think, with some bitterness, Ali Agha isn’t really that old either, what’s with all slobber?

A few more hours, and we shall be on our way to Halifax. Cool calm Halifax, free from wet ice-creamy kisses and screams.


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