A little boy.

It was a cold day with a whipping Easterly wind coming off the sea and I was carrying yet another two bags of shopping down the long straight avenue that leads from the town centre towards the little terraced house where I live. The cold snap had been around for a week or so and reached the point where the snow had outlived its welcome. The fag ends of icy, dirty drifts were littering the edges of the roads and covering the pavement in a slimy film of mush. The first new, white morning of crisp sparkling, untouched snow was a distant memory.
A little boy and his mother were just behind me, pulling a sledge hopefully through what was left of the covering of snow on the pavement. There was just enough to keep the sledge moving and she was giving him a treat, tiring him out and keeping him happy. He had been sent home from school and he was enjoying his time with his mum, holding her hand tight. The sledge was grinding its way along, empty behind them. Slowly they caught me up.
“Shall we help this lady with her shopping? It looks hard for her.”
He stared at me with interest. This was something real for his sledge to do. I knew that I had no option but to say yes and smiled at him.
“That’s very nice. Thank you.”
I placed the shopping carefully on the sledge and we set off together. The little boy watched me sharply as I walked along beside them, still holding onto his mum for security. The two bags of shopping scraped along the pavement behind us. Finally his curiosity got the better of him and he spoke.
“Are there any little boys at your house?”
I shook my head.
“No. No little boys at my house.”
He was a bit disappointed and his face fell. I tried to make up for this by offering him more information.
“There are two dogs and a man.”
This cheered him up. He frowned.
“Is that like a daddy?”
“Yes.”
He was happy with that, and we chatted away together until his mother checked that I didn’t have much farther to go and explained that she had better get him back into the warm. They turned around and left me to walk on alone. I carried the shopping for the last few yards smiling to myself. I can’t have children of my own, and I don’t go around wanting other people’s, but if I did have a little boy in my house I wouldn’t mind at all if he were exactly like that one who was trundling his sledge back down the road with his mother.

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7 comments on “A little boy.

  1. Jane Walker says:

    Nice moment.. well brought up lad.

    Never had a boy but when Amelia was three she pulled her baby sister along on a sledge which was just the right size to take the baby carrier and Maddle all bundled up in her padded winter suit. It was terribly sweet.

  2. Helen Fisher says:

    I really enjoyed how such a relatively short moment can have such a large impact. Children have a marvellous way of connecting and communicating and touching other peoples lives What a lovely read!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Its those little incidents in life that make it all the more treasured. I wonder if, somewhere in the recesses of his memory, he will recall when he is grown, the kind lady he was able to help … xx

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