Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Discipline on the A


The mother's arm whacked at the little girl's leg and then her arm.

"I told you to stop it!" she said in a vicious voice.

A couple of minutes before this, the mother had been giggling and scratching her daughter's milky-brown back with unusual zest, but the girl seemed to like it. She listed away from me and toward her mom while her pink furry jacket brushed my thigh.

Thunder came before lightning.

"I told you not to kick her!" Smack.

"She didn't kick me," I said to the mother. I said it with intent. I made sure the mother heard me. She mumbled something and didn't look at me. Then I smiled right into the little girl's eyes: Please don't let this ruin you, I told her silently. Please don't let this violence destroy you. Please know you didn't do anything to deserve that and never will do anything to ever deserve it.

The little girl's huge brown eyes stayed on mine.

"She didn't kick you 'cause I keep watching her," the mother said to me.

"She didn't kick me," I said again, emphatically. I wondered if the mother's mother had yanked her around and smacked her the same way. And I wondered if little girl would become a mother who would do the same thing when she has a child.

I caught the little girl's eyes again and smiled again.



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