A Chance Meeting

Today, I was bitten on the arm. In my line of work, this isn’t wholly unusual but I’m more accustomed to getting spat in the face. Suffice to say, this affected my fickle human mood.

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I came home, a bag of warm water wrapped with masking tape around the arm. It could have once been considered an ice pack, but the laws of energy diffusion ultimately got their way. When unwrapped, a scarlet swelling surrounded by fewer hairs than usual, had been uncovered. I winced readily if so much as a breeze raked itself against the patch of flesh so recently chewed.

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It was around 19°c and partly cloudy outside, giving Londoners the rare opportunity to wind down their car roofs, hem their jeans and struggle against the diligent wind to turn the pages of their books in the park. I’m not excused from this behaviour. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and having a sky resemble a perpetually untouched sheet of paper makes a human appreciate any semblance of colour that threads its way through. I was the one in the park with the book. I also had a girlfriend with me. Despite this. the real highlight of my day came unexpectedly, holding a Kinder Egg capsule caked in mud.

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While the need to book a holiday here may be overwhelming, it should be understood that there is an apparent lack of hotels in this area.

I have always considered children a lot more emotionally intelligent than adult humans. Our acceptance of our ignorance and vulnerability tends to dissipate as we claim to gain more experience with age. This girl didn’t give a shit.

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“What are you doing?”

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Just chilling. But that surely wouldn’t be comprehensible to this inquisitive young girl. Contemplative silence sufficed.

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“Are you chilling out?”

“Exactly. That’s exactly what we’re doing.”

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Damn. We had both underestimated her, with the same line of thinking. She showed us a small plastic hoop she had discovered on the ground and asked us what it was. We were adults, we should know.

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“I don’t know. What do you think it is?”

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She didn’t know but embraced it.

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“Maybe it’s a bracelet for a…”

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I didn’t catch the end but assured her it was too small to be a bracelet.

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“For a doll.”

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Oh. Well…fair enough, I could see that. I had persisted in underestimating her to my embarrassment.

She told us about her little sister.

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“Do you have kids?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Umm…we’re too young for kids right now.”

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A terribly poor answer to the question posed. We were physically capable of having children. It was not our youth but our lack of finances and readiness that prevented us from having children.

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“Are you married?”

“We’re not.”

“Are you friends?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you boyfriend and girlfriend?”

“Yep.”

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She smiled. And why shouldn’t she? She found out what she wanted to without navigating around the question or attempting to follow up the question in order to force a sense of flow. She had found her answer and that was that.

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When she left again, we attempted to build a daisy chain for her but, much to our joy, she interrupted us. She asked what we were doing so we did our best to explain the concept of a daisy chain.

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On the first try, she slipped the stem through another stem which she had adroitly poked a hole through with her nail, as we advised. She ended up completing the chain or, as she more accurately called it, a daisy square or a daisy L.

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Her babysitter called her. The girl asked if we would be here tomorrow.

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“Maybe”, we vehemently hoped.

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