Why do you cry?
..asked the stranger to the little girl sitting on the sidewalk with her head deep between her crouched knees.
“Because I am horrible”, said the little girl with a sob.
“How so?”, the stranger wondered.
“I am horrible.. Ugly!”, she sniffed.
“And who has told you this?”, asked the stranger gently.
“Everyone!.. Everyone says so..”, the little girl half wailed half cried and went into a fit of slobbering sobs. She seemed quite practiced at it.
“But my dear little girl”, said the strangers voice, “You are so young. How many ‘everyone’ can you know?”
The little girl hiccuped.
“Here.”, said he gently, “Let me have a look at you.”
“NO! I am so ugly!”, the girl said into her knees stubbornly.
The stranger slowly reached down and cupped the little girls face out from where it was hidden and said, “Let me make my own opinion about that.”
The little girls hair had the color of fresh carrots. They were as soft and silky as a spiders web, but even though slightly damp with sweat, it was still curly. She had a cute little nose like an admirals coat button – the old kind.
Many threads of her reddish hair shot up and around every which way like a miniature mad scientist. The girl obviously liked to run a lot.
Her face, however, was a blotchy mess with tears and worse. Her moms mascara streaked down her eyes, half way down to her blushed cheeks. Her cherry red lips were pursed and half bitten.
“Hmmm…”, noted the stranger, “You have dots all over your face.”
The little girl tried to shy away from the stranger but the stranger gently held her face.
“Have you always had these dots?”, he asked.
“Yes..”, the little girl wailed.
“Since you were born?”
“Yes..”, the little repeated herself but there was the slightest hint of defiance in her voice this time.
“But so does the moon.”, said the stranger even more gently. “..dots, I mean. And a lot of bruises and blotches too, at that. But no body ever accuses the moon for being unsightly nor ugly.”
The little girl frowned. She looked at the strangers face, really looked at him. The stranger was not a big man. His head was bald but mostly cropped very short due to early receding.
His black beard somewhat more then made up for the lack of hair though. He had dark eyes that seemed to smile gently down on her, all by themselves.
He did not appear old, yet his beard was peppered with gray threads on the one side of his chin. The little girl thought it was odd but was somewhat intrigued by it too. She seldom saw anyone wearing a beard.
“Then again”, continued the stranger, “Perhaps the moon probably does not give a hoots arse to what every little ‘everyone’ ever thinks about her.. And neither should you.”
The little girl did a giggle mixed with a sob and a sniff; the man had said ‘hoots ass’ but she thought he said it funny.
“The only opinion that ever matters is your own, your moms and your dads – in that order.”
The smile spreading on the face of the freckled little carrot was like the dawn of a new day.
The stranger paused for a moment as if lost in some distant memory before smiling himself, down into the little girls deep dew green eyes.
“And when you grow older and wiser, you will likely figure; that order should have been the other way around..”
* * *
Book of Obvious Observations