Friday, November 25, 2011


{This photo is from about a year ago}

Recently we went to Orange Couch Park for juice and popcorn, and Gabriel entertained himself by running back and forth across the bridge that joins the cafĂ© and the park proper. As I ran after him, I remembered a little girl I saw there months ago – probably around the age then that Gabriel is now.

She was probably just about a year old; her contented delight with her own ability to walk was evident in her pleased little smile and continual motion. She had discovered the footbridge that arcs between the cafes at Compleksi Taiwan and the green spaces of Parku Rinia, and was toddling happily back and forth.

A little boy, apparently her big brother, came running to her with a soccer ball tucked under his arm and an angry expression on his face. He shouted at her and pulled at her arm, trying to get her to go back with him into the park, but she shook him off and just kept walking. Pretty soon the little boy retreated down the steps at the park end of the bridge and stood behind a holly bush crying loudly in frustration. He was so tiny himself, probably little more than three years old himself. Maybe a very small four.

I watched then as one of the waiters from the restaurant next to the bridge came striding over purposefully. He spoke sharply to the little girl, lifted her up with a hand under each armpit, and placed her next to her brother who again grabbed her arm. She, of course, headed straight back towards the bridge, where the waiter who had removed her stood with arms folded staring down at her.

Then I saw a young Roma woman (I’m guessing the mother) come running across the grass. She lifted the girl in one arm, grabbed the boy’s hand with her other one, and hurried them back to the rest of the family.

The children were so adorable, yet so small and ragamuffin; the boy’s anguish and girl’s delight so apparent; the man’s authority so absolute; I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry as the scene unfolded, but I felt like doing both. While my own children, healthy and well-dressed, were permitted access to the whole complex, these two little ones were removed.

No comments: