She’s detail oriented, describes people by what they’re wearing or their hairstyles; especially their hairstyles. One day someone pulled her by her hair in the school bus. She was crying when she alighted. I’d never seen her cry that hard. She kept demonstrating how the person did it. And it looked really bad! The way she did it, I was surprised she still had her scalp intact. At the time, I did not know that she was exaggerating. I know better now. She does that often. It adds drama. And everyone likes a little drama.
I was hysterical! I wanted to know the person who’d done it. Was it a teacher? No. Was it another kid? No. And it was neither the driver nor his conductor. I called the driver. I wanted the bus stopped. I would storm in there and she’d point to the person. The driver did not pick up. I then called the school and went a little crazy on the lady on the other side of the line. She apologized not really knowing what she was apologizing for. I requested her to get back to me as soon as they found the perpetrator before calling her dad. The whole time she was beside me wailing uncontrollably.
When she composed herself enough to speak, she tried explaining who it was but I had a hard time understanding whether it was a fellow pupil or an adult, a female or a male. The person’s head was shaved. This she really emphasized. And the person was seated next to Farajoy (Fara Joy? I don’t know). She talks about this Farajoy a lot. They do a lot together; eat her snacks, sit next to each other in the bus, and I’m even informed when Farajoy misses school. From what she tells me, Farajoy is not in her class and she’s a little older. ‘So she’s your friend?’ I ask. ‘No, she’s my sister.’
I do not try to argue with that. I know the girl must be special for my child to know her by name. Other than her classmates and her teacher (whom she called teacher cucu for the first week), the only other person she knows by name is this sister of hers. Our conversations in the evening are normally bizarre. ‘Did you eat all the grapes by yourself?’ I’ll ask. ‘No, I ate with my friends in the bus,’ she’ll say. ‘And what are the names of your friends?’ ‘I don’t know them,’ she’ll reply. ‘Them’ referring to the friends, and not the names.
Back to the person with the shaved head, I asked her, ‘Was this person wearing any uniform?’ She said, no. The person was in a red top. ‘Was it a boy or a girl? She said it was a boy. This information was not helpful for two reasons. First it was Friday and therefore a games day. A red top could have been a games T-shirt for all I knew and secondly, the fact that she said it was a boy meant nothing at all. A boy to her is any male from an infant to a 90 year old man.
But I had not considered a third possibility. One I learnt about the other day and that reminded me about the complexity that is a child’s brain…
She’s taking her evening porridge and I’m on the couch nursing the little one and minding my own business when she turns to me and says, ‘Mommy, do you know that Kimberly’s dad came to school today?’
‘No,’ I reply, ‘I did not know that, but do tell.’
‘Yes he did. And God gave him hair!’ she continues.
‘What makes you say that?’
‘Because he has hair that is styled like this and like this,’ she explains while showing me what she means using her hand. ‘Oh, really?’ I reply, not paying much attention.
After a long silence, I’m thrown back when she concludes, ‘Mom, do you know that Kimberly’s dad is not a boy? He’s a good girl.’
I guess I have a lot of explaining to do.
Until we see each other again,