So much for posting once a week. How is it possible so that so much time has passed? I could come up with of host of excuses, from spending four days in bed due to a dreadful chest cold to spending another six handcrafting two dozen paper cutout birthday invitations for my beloved niece (that turned out very cute I must admit), but the plain and simple reason for this inexcusable 34-day absence is a case of good, old-fashioned writer’s block. This one like a brick wall two steps ahead of me whichever way I turned to walk.
The other day, by way of a precocious half Slovak-half Indian five-year-old girl, something finally came to me. This little lady, P, who I decided I don’t see often enough, seeing as how she lives in New Jersey, is my cousin’s daughter. I took a midday jaunt up to Central Park to meet the two of them along with my other cousin and her husband who are visiting the US from Slovakia. So there we are, strolling through the park’s winding roads, stopping to watch jugglers, break-dancers, out-of-work Broadway songstresses and the like and P is holding my hand as if we’ve known each other for ages. (Surely she doesn’t remember the last time we saw one another, when she was just three.) At five, she speaks three languages – English, Slovak and Punjabi, the third. She speaks Slovak, her mother says, with an intonation and mannerisms like those of an old woman from the village. She is forthright in her opinion that schoolwork is no fun and that she would much prefer to simply color and play. She minds her manners and walks amongst the adults then punctures dead silence with random thoughts most would imagine far out of the mindset of a child. “Why do those people with such a little dog have such a long leash for him”, she asks. I wonder this also, having one too many times almost tripped on such a leash. On the Alice in Wonderland sculptures she befriends a father-daughter duo with a Great Dane who stands as tall as she does and exclaims to them “I love dogs”, and begins explaining all those she’s come to know in her lifetime. When she gets tired of these two she climbs over to the next woman and starts a casual chit-chat about what a great afternoon it is. And along the walk, in between asking me what ‘uneven’ means and running off to chase a pigeon, she advises me that the high heeled boots I am wearing (which by the way are a mere two inches) are not a good idea for walking in the park; flat shoes would be better.
After two hours of this show, I remember P is five when suddenly, though calmly, she complains of fatigue and asks why we can’t just hire a pedi-cab. “Just a few more blocks,” we say and carry on. Finally we reach Seventh Avenue and the car is in sight. A bus zooms by us and lets out a roar triggering the proclamation of all proclamations from my new favorite five-year-old.
“My backyard is big and green with trees and lots of space to run. This place is loud. People everywhere, cars, buildings, wagons, trashcans, noise, honking, cars.” And then a huff and a puff and a furrowed brow as she scopes out our surroundings for another check. “Arrows, signs, ice cream. I don’t like this place.”
I agree P, it’s loud and crazy, but there is just something about it I love.
Ah, from the mouths of babes!