Once again, I’m working my tapered fingers to the bone at the family store. I wish I were at home, where Topaz reclines in an alcove of Dad’s cookbooks, manuals and dictionaries. Pete and I refer to this as Topaz’s Room. Like any girl with a jealous feline sister of approximately the same age, Topaz defends her turf. I’m sure she’s going to cut up Drusy’s Shawn Cassidy posters. Daria and I, sixteen months apart, were scrappers from the beginning but we knew sisters in high school who were so mean they gave each other shocking nocturnal haircuts. I’ve warned the cats about bobbing one another’s fur.
If you can believe it, the first cookbook my family ever gave me was English. I should have sensed their hostility and run away from home immediately. This being before Google the Great and Powerful or rides to a real library, I was left to puzzle out what rashers of bacon might mean to quiche, and why the pictures made food look slightly hysterical. I’d seen desserts before, but never an emotionally overwrought Pavlova stacked with nervous kiwi.
In the first picture of lovely Topaz with her delicious new feathery bell toy thingy, the English cookbook is backwards in the stack. I still use it sometimes to demonstrate my claim that I make a gateau that’ll make you cry, especially if you’re wearing an expensive outfit.
Topaz is far too sleepy and too refined for such silliness.