November 25, 2002

Ritual

As usual, the child and the adult are sitting on the wall overlooking the wide open fields that gently melt into the setting sun.

The little one not having spoken for a while causes the adult to sit up and take notice. Is it yet another phase? He wonders, lets it remain at that and grants his attention back to the birds swooping down in a flock and up again against the sinking orange disk. Another five minutes of this and I am going to scream at him, the adult makes up his mind.

Why cannot he just ask? It is written all over his face that he wants to know. Why should he then put up this front at all? After all it is just him and me, thinks the child, staring blindly up ahead pretending to count an imaginary figure with his little fingers.

Is something bothering you? The question arrives finally from the adult following a loud and very noticeable prelude of a sigh.

Silence.

It is very awkward for him now and he has been caught on the wrong foot, if the child does not speak at all, it will be a total disaster. The situation must be salvaged. Adopting a more amiable posture he tells the child "You honestly cannot expect me to read your mind, you have to tell me what is bothering you, otherwise how am I to know?"

"What do you want to know", asks the little one, his mind echoing the same question in different words -- what would you know anyway? The floodgates open and the adult swamps the child with words about how it is all different, how wonderful things are and all the other things the child should be to listening to.

"Yeah, it is all wonderful, really wonderful", the little one concludes, praying for an early conclusion of this latest episode.

"I was sure you would see my point", says the adult and marks his latest victory with a smug smile.


And they return to to their respective silences.