Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"The Strangers at the Gate" by Arthur Rigden Read

Normally I am annoyed with solicitors, but every once in a while someone comes by with a child. A very young child can't fake cheerfulness or interest, nor can their caretaker bullshit very easily while handling them, and so I pull down my defenses, greet them politely, and listen to what they have to say. He's an especially pretty child with a heart-shaped, cherubic smile. His mother, plain-but-pretty, is rather eager, but not pushy. With her thick, wavy hair, broad face, and relaxed expression (as if to say, "Well aren't those lovely roses in your garden.") she reminds me of a favorite aunt when she was a young mother. I observe the interaction between parent and child. I see the tenderness in her gaze and the way she bounces him on her hip; the two seem as if they have always been together. It doesn't matter what they are selling or if I decide to buy. These are just a couple of people at my gate, and we're talking to each other under the sun and clouds and invisible stars.

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