Tuesday, September 2, 2014
My new little friend. His name is Roma. He is about 6 or 7 I suppose. Bright...creative...curious...a little unsure of this strange woman talking to him in a language he doesn't comprehend. At first, hiding behind his Mama. Peeking out of the crack between her arm and the side of her body. A shy smile...eye contact for just a brief moment. He has a toy car...he wants to show it off to me...but he is not quite sure about even acknowledging I even exist. When we sit down, I pat the spot between his mother and me. I give him a smile and make "big eyes" over his "machina". He decides I must be okay...maybe. He wants to draw...all of the Babushka's help him find some things to draw with. I give him my place mat to do his second Picasso on...wow...a masterpiece in the making. The gap between us is closing...very slowly. By the time I draw my rendition of a bird on his paper he is leaning against me. He is not sure about my bird, but he puts it in a tree he draws for his bird. (unfortunately the table busser is not a lover of the fine arts, especially the 7 year old kind, and unceremonially trashes our beloved artwork!) We begin to share wild stories. I ask him if there is a hippopotimus in his soup...neyet (no) with a look of contempt. I ask him how he knows, he didn't even look to see if there was one there! You know,of cours, he had to look! The answer was still the same...neyet! The story went back and forth as he ate his soup, and fries, and chocolate ice cream, and latte. It moved from the hippo to the crocodile. I assured him there was a crocodile (craw co dill) in his latte. Of course not...it couldn't be. That is when I pulled out all the stops...I drew a picture of a crocodile on the sugar packet that he had just torn open and poured into his latte. He laughed out loud and told his mother there was definately a crocodile in his latte because it had been in the sugar packet. His Babushka asked me how many grandchildren I had. I told her 5. She said to me, I knew it, you sound just like a grandmother to me. What a compliment! Thank you, Nadezhda, the same to you! The space between us is non-existant...Roma is almost in my lap...but it is time to go. Tears, hugs, promises to see each other next year. Hope and prayers for the future of this country, of these people. Rita and I walk towards our destination as they wait at the tram stop. I turn and wave...but he is absorbed in watching the busses, vans and trolley busses go by. After all...he is a 7 year old boy who loves big transportation!