Thursday, August 12, 2004

Le désespoir de la vieille

Two days ago as I was walking home, I passed a family coming from the grocery shop. Two kids, about 8 or 10 year old carrying heavy bags with a proud look on their faces. The parents were a couple of meters behind. The mother pushing a stroller filled with bags, the father carrying some heavy boxes. A toddler, a small girl wearing a blue dress, is gripping the stroller by their sides. She looks at me, suddenly appearing on the street. I smile and ask her "How come you're not carrying anything?" The tone is soft but the kid is terrified. She tries to back away from me, turns around, trips and falls on her face. She screams and her mother scoops her up and takes her in her arms.
I realize too late that I was wearing my sun glasses. Without eyes, no wonder that she screamed. I took them off and smile but to no avail. She looks at me without fear now that she is in her mother's arms but her face reflects all too clearly that she would like nothing more than see me disappear as fast as I appeared.
I apologize to the mother who has kept silent for the whole episode. She smiles. There's no harm done.

Only today I remembered this small poem in prose from Baudelaire.
"et nous faisons horreur aux petits enfants que nous voulons aimer!"
"and we inspire disgust to the little children we want to love!"


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