Thursday, June 28, 2018

some happiness pls

yesterday the vegetable vendor's five year old daughter
painted my nails yellow,
with some cheap local nail polish.
at first i wanted to laugh saying it looks like, to borrow my son's words, potty
then i looked at her scrunched up little face and pouting mouth and how involved she was in it
'your hands are so pretty' she said
while the truth is they are ugly
i have old women's hands I think,
no i don't have old women's hands,
but i think i do,
it comes from my mother's dad's side of the family
and i always ask her peevishly 'why didn't you give me the milk-cream and hazel eyes and light brown hair genes from my father's side'
instead of mountain feet and bony hands
as if the sperm would have a lengthy discussion with the egg
and finalise on what all genes to put in
and sign papers after
and applaud at the successful design.
but the little girl thinks my hands are pretty and i believed her all evening
until the sun came out today and I saw them in the light next to my friend's hands.
'i like you', the vegetable vendor's daughter says, 'you are very kind and the clothes you gave my brother, they are nice, he refuses to take them off'
'i will buy a frock for you, on your birthday' I offer
'what will I do with a frock', she asks, eyes round and sad
'what if you buy me one eclairs toffee everyday for the rest of my life?'
'but why?, don't you want to twirl in a new frock and look pretty and be happy?' i ask, amused at her naivety and innocent bartering of a pricey frock for cheap toffees
'no, you see if you give me a frock i will be happy for only one day, and my happiness will run out the next day, but if you give me a toffee everyday,  i will be happy everyday, only a little  happy, but a little happy everyday'

i wonder who teaches children about sadness and happiness,
and injects so much sense into them
that they have to choose between
two measures of happiness - 'so-much-happiness,
and
'a-little-happiness'

i wonder who told her that happiness is doled out in quota, and that it runs out.

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