I’m finishing breakfast at the corner café when a small kid wanders into my field of vision. He looks two, maybe three, staring at me from behind his runny nose. Call it the hazards of eating out every day.
“Hi there,” I say flatly. In my experience, directness (combined with old age and some serious wrinkles) is enough to scare them away. He of course runs off to his parents. Game, set, match.
I never much saw the point of having children. My wife used to call me a selfish man, which I guess is a pretty serious thing for a wife to say. When we first got married she would recite lists of baby names while I was trying to fall asleep. She spent ten years trying to talk me into having one, and another ten blaming me for not giving in. Eventually she forgave me, but her eyes would open wide anytime we crossed a baby stroller in the street.
I stare at my scrambled eggs as that particular memory brings with it the familiar threat of a tear or two. Goddamn it, I think to myself. Here I go again.
The kid comes back. Gotta admire his perseverance; he’s basically challenging me to a staring contest now. I compose myself and stare right back at his fat face while sipping on my tea. Two can play that game my friend.
At the very end, I make a loud slurping sound. He giggles, I win.