Two Thousand Kilometres Inland

“‘He says the weather’s horrendous. And getting worse. Perfect! Just what you wanted!”
⎯Redmond O’Hanlon, Trawler

I’m at a family reunion, but don’t think I give a damn about my family. I never have, except for my twin sister, and it’s only because we haven’t talked for three years that I came inland from the coast at all.

Okay, there’s one other interesting factor. My mother called to tell me about the reunion a couple weeks ago. It’s meant to end twenty years of estrangement between my father and his brother. They stopped talking to each other when my dad’s brother, Jake, persuaded their sister to move inland to Hamilton from Halifax. She was pregnant with my cousin Kate, and Jake’s wife was pregnant with my cousin Sam, and he wanted them to start their families where there was work (Hamilton steel mills). She died from Cancer shortly after they moved. She died so quickly after she was diagnosed that my father never got a chance to see her, and since he hated his brother for moving from the East Coast to the mainland and bringing their sister with him in the first place, he blamed her death — two thousand kilometres inland, two thousand kilometres away from him — on Jake, and he never forgave him. For this reason I had never heard of these people until that phone call from my mother. Since I’ve never given a damn about my dad and his silent, brooding grudges, I was only pleased and curious to learn I had cousins, both of them nineteen, only a year younger than me and Claire, and apparently as clueless to us as we were to them.