I was enjoying a ‘cheeky’ Costa the other day… yes, crap word, but I’m trying to lose some excess baggage here, so the Costa was a bit cheeky…
…whoah digressing, I’m not talking baggage today. Aaaaand back to the subject…
… so there I sat enjoying my cheeky Costa, relishing the peace of my own company and skimming through a discarded newspaper. An indulgent bit of time out. Me time. But of course situations always change. Someone decided my attention needed to be caught. Someone would not be happy until I threw my attention her way.
I could feel her eyes on me. A small hand waving, waiting to catch my gaze. I looked up, we locked eyes… she grabbed! Well caught!
“I’ve got hot chocolate, what you got?” she asked.
“Coffee.” I replied, asking “Is your hot chocolate nice?”
Her affirmative response was proffered by a lick of the lips and a nod, accompanied by a long savouring “mmmmmmmmmmmm”.
She was around 4 years old. Crazy curly hair. Wearing that multi-coloured mish mash of patterns and stripes that only kids can get away with.
“Have you seen my picture. I drewd it.” she said, waving a napkin at me covered in an array of pencil squiggles and dots.
“Its brilliant” I smiled, “tell me about it”… always the best response when you haven’t a clue what the picture is. Followed by holding your breath, just for a moment, hoping the reply isn’t a curt “can’t you see?” It wasn’t… and breathe! Phew!
Her pet rabbit eating a carrot, and her cat killing a mouse (nice!). Poor things, no ears, two eyes between them and no legs, but being polite I didn’t mention that her pets seemed to missing some of their body parts and may need a trip to the vet at some point.
As she chattered to me, I sensed something in the way she was looking at me. Her eyes, her expression seemed to hold an unasked question. She would quieten, then start to edge towards me, then step back; excited chattering resuming. Then she would edge closer again and quieten, watching me.
Kids can’t hold things in. If there is a question to be asked, it has to be asked. No messing now, no holding back, she looked me in the eye, grabbed my hair and out it came… “Is your hair real or is it pretend?”
Mum gasped, ready to tell her off, to which I quickly mouthed an “It’s OK.”
I laughed. In fact I lol’d! And if you are wondering about my wig, no I don’t have one, although I do believe there are some stonking syrups out there.
“It’s real” I replied, “Look, its attached to my scalp”. My comment clearly being an offer to verify my statement and give my hair a yank, whilst I bravely held in a wince.
“But its pink?!” she questioned. Ah that was it. She was simply taken by the colour of my hair. I find it hard to believe she had never seen anyone with pink hair before, or maybe she had never had the opportunity to speak to a rose head.
“Oh!” I understood now. “My hair is real, but the colour is pretend. I coloured it in myself.”
“WOW!” she squealed.
“Do you like it?” I asked.
“Yes, its Princess hair! Princesses have pink hair. Are you a Princess?”
“Erm, no” I laughed “Just a lady with pink hair I’m afraid.”
“I think you are a Princess and its beautiful hair.”
“Thank you very much” I smiled “That’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today.”
She looked very pleased with herself, grinned at me, then contentedly went back to her hot chocolate and continued her napkin doodling.
And the Princess?
Well throughout this exchange, the 53 year old Princess in her tatty jumper, old leggings and Doc Martens had been flushing, sweating and fanning herself, as women of a certain age often do!
She carried on fanning herself as she finished her coffee. Holding her cup with her little pinky sticking out, because that’s what Princesses do. And she smiled to herself.
We all have a Princess inside and last Thursday that little girl spotted mine.