GIRAFFE with a 'd' A group of small children were having a game, a bit like “I spy”, but just guessing animal names from the initial letter. One little five-year-old had them all confused with his quest for them to name an animal whose name began with “d”. They guessed 'dog', 'duck', 'donkey' – even 'dolphin', then, desperate, one suggested ‘dragon’. All were wrong. When they surrendered, requesting their little mate to tell them the answer, with a victorious look, he announced ‘diraffe’! The mocking and laughter – at him, not with him - was unrelenting; his humiliation complete. An adult who had been listening, repeated the story to others and more laughter ensued. Poor little kid!
SATISFIED YOUTH A young man stands waiting by the pedestrian lights. He has a mass of beautiful dark curls cascading down one side of his head, over part of his face. On the other side, his hair is cropped, shaved really; extremely short. He has a look of supreme self-confidence and is obviously pleased with his look. Good on him!
MAN IN THE LIBRARY I am walking toward the library entrance. A man is leaving, with his head bowed over a book, reading as he walks. Luckily, the library has automatic opening doors. His keenness to immediately start his newly borrowed book nearly results in concussion.
WOMAN IN THE LIBRARY On another day at the library, I step into the lift with my just-collected books and make a comment to a fellow lift taker – something to do with what a good library we have. She agrees and adds that, since her husband died earlier in the year, the library has been somewhat of a ‘saviour’ to her, giving her plenty of opportunity to keep her mind away from the grief she is still experiencing. We have a brief further conversation about grief and the healing power of reading before exiting the lift and going our separate ways. But in the nearby shopping centre, we keep coming across each other and, for ten or fifteen minutes, on an off, we share a smile and a word or two. I think it does us both good.
THE SKATEBOARDERS They looked so happy. Three girls, aged about 13, skateboards held jauntily under their arms, brightly coloured helmets fastened securely, heading for the local skateboard park. Laughter and excited chatter could be heard as they made their way. Arriving at the edge of the skate ramps, the girls stopped and stared at the array of male skateboarders of all ages and abilities. Not a girl in sight. Some of the more ’senior’ male skateboarders were showing off with risky manoeuvres. The girls’ enthusiasm waned. They looked at each other, saying little; facial expressions said it all. Forming a huddle and exchanging a few whispered words, they walked away, skateboards now held limply at their sides. All cheerful chatter and skipping steps gone. ‘Bloody boys’, I thought.