She's beautiful. We're all taken with her. A group of business men types having breakfast in a hotel lobby, it's nice to see a little kid doing little kid things. It's a distraction from eating for purpose, not pleasure, worrying about the day rather than simply enjoying the moment. Her mother was getting two plates from the buffet behind and bringing stuff back to the table.
Then it began.
Norman Rockwell began the painting but reality set it alight.
Mother started almost immediately. Kate, dew eyed child, was left handed. Mom was insisting she use her right. "You want to be perfect don't you?" Tears sprung to little eyes at the knowledge that at 6 she wasn't living up to expectations.
The room tensed. Everyone stopped for a second, like we'd all witnessed a slap across the face. Then, moment gone, we went on.
The child struggled to use a right hand that was no where near as adept at the left. But Kate wanted to make mother happy, be a perfect little girl. After only a little time she gave up on her food. Mother looked more approvingly at unfinished food than she did at her daughter.
Kate got up and began to check things out in the room. She came over to this computer, looked over the fake books in the fake bookshelf. Then back to the table. She was little. Really little. She lifted her arm up for mom to pick her up and help her into the chair.
Another sharp shot, "You don't need help, you aren't like that poor crippled girl in your class. You've got to learn to do things on your own."
The room tensed. In seconds we were all up, save Madonna and Child. I don't think that anyone could take it any longer.
I said nothing.
I told Donna, the woman from Rhode Island who brough me here and she said, voice full of irony, "And you need a license to fish in this state."
When I got back to the hotel, I had to wait for an hour for the computer. I kept calling down and finally the station was free.
She's here now.
Kate, the little girl.
She's colouring at the table behind me. I don't know where mother is. It looks as if she's being watched over by the woman on the desk.
But she's humming and singing as she colours.
Unrepentantly she's colouring.
With her left hand.