Friday, October 23, 2009

Fan Boy

"Here, this is for you," he said, beaming at me on Monday, offering me a freshly-picked flower.

He is tall, handsome, confident ....

... four years old

.... won my heart with his very first smile and impish 'Hello'

.... and I've looked forward to 'bumping into' him on the daily walk to and from school every day since that first meeting.

Carefully holding the flower, I walked alongside him, chatting casually, answering his questions with a breezy nonchalance I did not feel inside as his scooter clattered along the kerb.

The flower deserved to be saved for a while longer to preserve the wonderful fizz of happiness bubbling away inside, so an ancient shot glass was found for Patrick's impulsive gift.

On Friday, at the end of a busy week, I was at my usual place by the side gate at the school; not welcome in the grounds due to having Milly with me, waiting for Sapphire to emerge - sticky hair, tired grin and usually staggering under the weight of her tortoiseshell-of-a-backpack.

Fifteen minutes ticked by which is about five months in a 'The bell has gone and school's finished for the week' time-frame and Milly had been greeted and patted by her regular dozen or so stage door Johnnies. Sapphire's friends and class mates had all hustled past, said 'Hi' and headed home. The cleaner arrived and the yard-duty teacher was ready to unzip her fluoro vest and find her hatchback in the staff car park. Still no Sapphire to be seen.

My stomach started pounding in anxiety. Where was she?

Oh yes, then I remembered - Sapphire was at her extra music lesson straight after school to cover the one she missed when at camp last week. I was therefore content to linger at the gate with Milly, ruffling her ears as we checked the progress of the apartment block being built by burly Kiwi blokes across the road and the angry pair of Pomerians complaining about the intrusion in the tiny brick house next door.

Out of the corner of my eye I spotted Patrick. He was playing in the sandpit inside the school fence while his older brother Lachlan was kicking the footy with his father, Chris.

Patrick finished poking his stick collection into the squashed lunch time sand castle made by older kids and spotted me.
"Kath! Hello Kath," he yelled happily and ran over.

I turned and smiled, walking towards my young male admirer.

His father was about 100 metres away and had met me only once before and on that singular occasion I was wearing a dress, heels and make-up and was about to go out with his wife Amy to see a fashion show and movie about Valentino.

He was not, therefore, able to instantly compute that the figure in denim jeans and a black hoodie that was - at that unfortunate moment - covering her head due to the cold breeze, was, in fact, his wife's friend.

Like a taller and thinner Tom Cruise from 'Minority Report' at the swimming pool he instead noted that his youngest son was approaching a shabbily-dressed stranger at the school gate.

"Patrick!" His face was a mask of instant anguish and there was no way his six foot-seven frame was going to allow me even a moment to consider reaching out to ruffle his son's hair. He ran like a streak of petrified parental lightning across the oval.


I flipped my hoodie back and smiled nervously. "Er, Hi Chris. It's Kath."
Chris's face was still reverting from panic to blankness.

"Chris? I'm Kath; your wife Amy's friend. We went to see that movie together...? We're coming to your place for morning tea this Sunday...?"

He nodded, the colour returning to his cheeks. "Oh, yes. Kath...."

I couldn't help but say it out loud.

"You thought I was a paedophile, didn't you?"


Baino said...

Well jeans and a black hoodie . . who wouldn't mistake you for an unsavoury character! You know men don't pay attention to details, he should have recognised the dog!

Kath Lockett said...

Actually he'd never met the dog - y'see I was all tarted up the first and only time he'd met me - and Milly hadn't been invited to the fashion show or the movie about Valentino!

Helen Balcony said...

Oh, c'mon, tell us what his reply to that was!

(Hmm, your wv is psychic - I've just been to the dentist and it's "dentyl")

Helen Balcony said...

And Milly is so lovely.

River said...

Oh, that moment of panic! Been there...
And the relief after..

delamare said...

So that's the story ....!

Rowe said...

A guy was actually holding my son's hand and leading him to the carpark, when he was about four. I was at the supermarket and allowed my son to browse the pet shop opposite (about twenty feet away) while I waited to pay for my goods at the check-out. I took my eyes off my boy for a few moments, extremely dumb, and next thing he was gone and I saw him being led away. I grabbed my boy, and the man slithered away without saying a word. I was in shock and did not think to follow the creep and get his number plate or find out where he came from. That day was a huge wake up call.

Cat J B said...

Oh my, Rowe, that is scary.

Kath, aren't 4 year old admirers lovely? You can do no wrong in their eyes, usually.

Kath Lockett said...

Helen B - he sort of blushed and nervously said, "Heh heh, well maybe." This was followed by a discussion about being parents and how - no matter if the kid is four or ten - we'll always worry.

Milly *is* lovely, Helen (reaches down to scratch her belly - Milly's that is - not mine or Helen's)

Delamere & River - yep. I was busy worrying about my ten year old before realising she was at a music lesson and Chris was about to tackle me for reaching out to ruffle his four year old's hair....

Rowe that has made my blood run absolutely cold. I can completely understand why you didn't take note of his appearance or car as he 'slithered' (good choice of word, BTW) away - you had your boy back in your arms and that was the main thing. Sheesh - would you be able to write a blog article about it?

CatJB - yes. I've found that it's the magic age where they think you're beautiful, all-knowing, all-seeing, totally hilarious and they're oblivious to income level, fashion sense or weight gain!

Ken Albin said...

I don't have children so can't really comment on that situation. I would like to say that Milly is a real treasure! Give her a scratch from me.

The Man at the Pub said...

HA HA! I'll get you a trenchcoat for christmas. Then you'll really cause a stir.

franzy said...

I work with a woman who quite openly admitted that she wasn't allowing her daughter to go on the whole year school camp (she's about 7) because she was afraid that her teachers would sexually abuse her.
She was even telephoned by the principal to ask why she wasn't letting her daughter go and had to make up some excuse ...

franzy said...

Ill-Considered comment #2
You mean you're not?

Kath Lockett said...

I will Ken (reaches down to scratch Milly's ears)

Man, with your trench coat and any kind of bag of chocolates that I've *always* go to hand, I'll be earning frequent pervo points on CrimeStoppers.

Franzy that's so sad of her to do that - she's a classic Helicopter parent - always hovering - and there has to be a time to let go, to trust and let your kid be a kid. I still commend Chris for acting so fast though.

And comment number two is just hurtful, *sniff*