Thursday, September 20, 2007

nearby children #1

Waiting for my train to be announced at Brighton station this morning, I note that two young families are standing nearby, two mothers and their respective children, one boy, one girl. The children are quiet, inspecting each other suspiciously. But one is more reluctant to speak than the other. One of the mothers moves off to WH Smith to get a paper.

The boy addresses the little girl. "I'm eight. How old are you?"

She greets his question will shy silence.

"You're eight too, I can tell", he says.

The mother intervenes. "Oh no", she says, "she's not even six yet".

The boy furrows his brow.

"She looks eight", he muses. "How old is she, then?"

"She's five".

At this point the little girl, by now looking thoroughly mortified, edges around the back of her mother, hiding. But the boy peers round.

"Five?", he repeats, as if thinking about this for a moment.

"Have you got a boyfriend?", he asks.

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