Wednesday, October 05, 2005

She wanted to tell me a secret.

The top of her little brown head barely reached over my table, and I bumped my jaw as I bent down obediently to answer her command, a brief "Secret!" accompanied by the stamp of a pink shod foot.
I wasn't sure what role I was playing in her movie, but as I looked up you and I traded glances, destroying the game we had played all evening. I had studied your chin while you looked at my cheekbones, and not once did our eyes touch the same space. The half-smile looked like a road I've already been down once this year, reminded me that the doors at the end of that road only led to a year's supply of Rice-a-Roni and not to the vacation in Maui.
Her secret had no words, just a hurried "Psssh pssss psssh" noise. Satisfied, she turned to go. Her barrette caught the lights and twinkled at me while she raised her fist to eat the last of the cookie she'd been clutching. I smiled at her mother, who looked up just then and noticed that her little girl was no longer at her side, to let her know that the child was doing no harm. I watched as she bent down, picked up a leaf on the floor, and pressed it to her nose. Her little finger held it there while she followed the lines on the floor tiles back to the square between her parents.

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