Thursday, June 24, 2004

The silence of the lambs

A little girl enters the subway followed by her mother. She is about 4 years old, wearing a flowery dress and white polished shoes. She rushes in and her mother has to call her back "Maria! Aqui." She is pointing to the seat next to the door. She needs the space to put her stroller where a baby is sleeping. The stroller is loaded with plastic grocery bags. The girl says nothing and comes back to sit next to the window. She is smiling and looking out to the suburbs passing by.
I lose myself in my newspaper only to hear the mother shouting at the girl. I'm not quite sure what happened but she is now hitting her. Nothing seriously violent but enough to make the child cry. She is crying loudly and I hear that in her cries, the child is calling the very person who is hitting her."Mama! Mama!". Then suddenly the cries stop.
The child is looking at her mother in complete silence. No cries, no tears. Just silence and her eyes still looking out through the window. I catch myself wishing she was still crying, shouting the unfairness of her treatment to all. One does not expect resignation from a 4 years old child.


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