Friday, July 5, 2013

Little girl with her daddy

At a bagel shop in the Upper West Side, having some lox before the Natural History Museum. I saw a little girl get on the train with her daddy this morning. They sat down opposite me. She was about 7 or so, her hair pulled back from her face neatly, her clothes fresh, a small purse on her arm. She held her daddy's hand and talked to him loudly in that way kids do, not meaning anything by it. She said, "It would be a BIG problem if I left my bag on this train." Either because she didn't elicit daddy's attention immediately or because he asked her, "Eh?" in a voice too soft for me to catch, she repeated it, with a bit more punch. My face exploded with smile. I couldn't help it. I looked over at her dad, who looked like he was distracted, and then at her, and immediately was sorry, because she clammed up instantly & retreated, shy and surprised there was another person in her universe. I wasn't making fun of you, little girl! I swear I wasn't. I was wishing I was exploring the city with my hand in my daddy's. I was loving listening to you figure stuff out. I was missing my students. I was in love with the train, speeding so roller coaster fast I had to tilt my head back & expose my throat to the ride. I was hoping you have a wonderful day.
They got off the train a stop before I did, and as she passed me she peeked at me for a second with the tiniest smile.
Topside, I passed another mom with a slightly older daughter, maybe 9. They were giggling, heads together. When I approached on the mostly empty walk, mom straightened up a bit, glanced away from me, daughter gave me a huge grin.

I don't want to get work here anymore. I want to roam the streets and pick up small treasures. Pretend I am with a protective but playful parent, beaming with joy at random people because at this moment, I am loved and safe and special enough that the most wonderful person in my world wants to spend time with me, alone. I keep thinking I should be earning money to pay for all this, but I'm also remembering how when I got back from Florence and totaled everything up, I wished I had allowed myself a little more freedom, spent a little bit more on things that could only happen there, could only come from there. 
I've been falling into bed every night since Tuesday before midnight. I'm going to force myself to stay up tonight, see some nightlife, even if I'm feeling weary of adventure and being on guard. It doesn't have to be THE GRAND EVENING OUT. That's the point of a long stay. But no matter how "done" I am, I can do one small thing. I can try. I can have another glass of water & some fruits & veggies or chill out for a bit but get back up and do one more thing. Be both the parent & the child. 
Smile. Throat exposed. 

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