A Skype conversation between my eldest daughter and I:
Her: I got my targets to assassinate; one is in my anthrop class.
Her: So I have made a dagger and will take him out today
Me: what do you mean targets to assassinate (I am still assimilating the first bit, I haven’t taken cognisance of the homemade dagger and impending homicide yet)
Her : I joined the assassins guild, where you get given three targets and have to kill them
Me: (this is quite alot to assimilate now) not really kill them?!
Her: yes mum, REALLY kill them. Duh.
Such are the traditions at Cambridge apparently. The dagger will doubtless join the plethora of evening dresses that were evidently imperative to life at university too, ‘do you know how many formals there are?’ she demanded in Primark (for my budget, especially given the half dozen required, only goes so far). No. I do not. Nor did I know what tubbing was (rowing, if you didn’t either). Though I do understand debating, stand-up comedy and volunteering for the elderly, all of which she has also engaged in. One must wonder when the academics are going to happen: today, presumably, when she takes out her victim in her anthropology class.
I walked around Trinity in awe. It is a beautiful college in a lovely city. It was broiling white-hot day that day: a melting 30 degrees. In October? The college porters, in their bowler hats, wore short shirt sleeves and were delightful. One engaged us in a lengthy conversation about a previous student who’d had – at his disposal – a lear jet on a near by airstrip. My daughter will have to use the bus.
Husband and I didn’t even pretend to be cool, we snapped away and made our daughter wear her new gown for even more pictures, ‘oh god how embarrassing’, she said.
I wrote to her afterwards. Keep a journal I instructed. Write everything down. Save every single ticket for every single occasion. Partly so that I might enjoy her experience vicariously but mainly so that she remembers because when she’s old and addled and embarrassing like her mother, she might not.
And then we came home. 9 hours in a plane, 12 in a car and were jolted back to Outpost reality.
And skyped conversations about imminent assassinations.