Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Can He Talk?

I took the boys to their trampoline lesson last Friday at our local leisure centre. The lesson is held in a vast, echoing hall with four trampolines in one corner and a couple of badminton courts scattered around. While the children await their turn for their one-to-one coaching they tend to run around the hall chasing a ball or playing tag, shrieking at a pitch that seems to resonate with the with the natural frequency of the hall and at a volume to make your ears bleed.

In the course of this running around between bouncing Matty collided with another child and I looked up from my book to see him sitting on the floor nursing his left leg. A group of children had gathered round and one of the mothers had come over to check that there was not too much damage done. I put down my book and took up my parental responsibility and wheeled across the cavernous hall towards the group. As I approached I could see that Matty was going to live and I cancelled the explanation I'd mentally started rehearsing for Polly about how my eye had never left him. The mother looked up to assure me that there was no serious damage done. Just then a little boy said loudly and clearly, “ Mum, mum, I think that man wants something.” The mother replied “ Yes, he's come to check that Matty is okay.” The boy looked puzzled. “Why would he do that? “ The mother flashed me an apologetic smile. “Because he's Matty's daddy.” “Is he? What really?” The boy looked at me with open curiosity and then checked with his mother. “Are you sure?” “Yes,” hissed his mother looking at me and mouthing “Sorry.” The boy continued to look me over. “Can he talk?” I fixed him in the eye and said firmly, “Yes, he can.” “Oh,” said the boy, “that's all right then.” He then wandered off to play. His mother, obviously wishing the polished floor would open up beneath her, could only mouth “Sorry” again.

Until next time.