Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tram Stories V

Through The Eyes of a Child

Yawn. Another day. Going to school.
The little girl across from me smiles.
"I like your cat." she points.
I look down at my bag. The image is a graceful black cat from a famous poster.
She sounds out the words. "Prochainement: Tournée du chat noir avec Rodolphe Salis (Coming: tour of the black cat with Rodolphe Salis). What does it mean?"
I looked at the common item for the first time. "I think it was for a concert."

Her frown recognizes my hesitation and is unconvinced. She looks up at her papa, a business man you would expect to see behind a newspaper, not holding the hand on a six year-old at 8:30 am. She is sure he knows the meaning of the black cat, but he shrugs.

"I like your shoes."
I look down at my oldest, plainest, brownest boots. I had sworn I'd quite wearing them, but it was wet today and I was afraid of having to walk. So the old flat-soled boots were once again drug out of hiding.

"Thank you. I like the flowers on yours." Hers were the expensive multi-colored leather boots one dreams of putting on a little girl.

"You have a flower on your hat." My bonnet is indeed a beautiful fuzzy black beret with a back rose. I show her the matching flower on my gloves. She sighs with contentment; the world is a beautiful place.

"Do you have a Christmas tree?" She leans forward as she asks; this is a serious issue. Her papa smiles his apologies at all her questions.

"Yes, I do,"  I say to her relief. "My husband bought it for me last Saturday."

"When?" I repeat the word, but my pronunciation of "samedi" is uncomprehensable to her.

Her papa comes to the rescue. "Sam-EH-di."

They come to their stop, he takes her hand, she waves "au revoir" and they are gone. Two Christmas monrings have passed since then and she has forgotten the univeristy student with the accent. Now she is too grownup to have such a candid conversation with a stranger, I imagine. The refreshment of spirit that she gave me that morning remains. I want to see the things around me, feel their importance and spread joy around me like the rarest perfume. I want to be that child. 


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