“Yeth. I like thocolate. Mama thaid it ith bad for me, though” She told the man, her tiny face very brave, and her liquid brown eyes trained on the hand that was tucked into a coat pocket. Oh course Mama had told her that she must never talk to strangers, but she had been talking to Mr. Man forever now, and he never did anything bad to her. He was so nice that he even gave her chocolate, but Mama had said never eat food from strangers, and so she hadn’t. They were all neatly arranged in on her wooden shelf.
She looked adorable in her little pink frock, an angel really, he thought. He was a handsome man, and still young. They had hair the exact same texture and colour, curly and mousey brown, htough the eyes were different. There was a part for him that wanted to sweep her up and carry her off to his home, his perfect baby doll. But he didn’t. He wished it he could say that he didn’t because he knew what was right and what wasn’t. Truth was, her mother was a hellcat, bringing up ugly words like laws, courts and suing at the drop of the hat. She could, of course, being one herself. Thrusting aside all thoughts of her, he smiled at the little one. “Are you happy?”
She tipped her head to the side like a bird and considered him and his question gravely before answering. One tiny hand was gripping a toy – a soft cuddley soft toy that looked like a unicorn – very hard, and she saw him through the low door of the front gate of the huge bungalow that was home. Mama would be home soon, she knew and she had to get back in. Mama would not like these daily meetings, but she liked Mr. Man. Seriously, she told him, “Yeth. Very.”
That settled it, in his mind. Spontaneously, he hugged her, and lifted her like he longed to, over the ancient minitaure gate. Then he set her back down and watched while her short legs padded to the house and stopped at the front door. Ayah would be out soon, having finished her tea. The sun set behind him, warming the face of the girl, and he drank in the scene as one starved. Hair flying around in wisps caught the light, and the bricks too appeared to love the last few minutes of sun.
Then abruptly, he turned and walked off into the sunset.