21 Jun

The Seagull and I are in the midst of redeveloping lingering rituals. We linger in bed a little longer of a morning, as she now requests books on her wake (next week she’ll request a cup of Earl Grey and fresh hookah). We linger at childcare of an evening, which also allows me to see what’s happening and get to know the other kids who mill about us to gawp and chatter as bags are packed, roping me in to read a book or, as of last night, actually sing the liner notes on a CD.

As I was struggling to get her shoes onto her, two girls stood over her. The ‘Gull tucked in her head and focused on her shoes, blocking them out as the girls tried to trick, grandstand and tease her. Wanting to know why her father lived in a different place, why her mother doesn’t drive a car or why she sometimes still has a bottle or wears a nappy.

The look on the Seagull’s face was of quietly sad and lonely confusion. It broke my heart.

With bullying behaviour, it’s not the words that mean anything because any information can be leveraged by the bully. It’s those physical cues — standing over, the leer, the conspiratorial laughter and the ostracism — that are the true tools. It’s that glint in the eye of pack behaviour as they test the boundaries, the alpha behaviour of a defender or ringleader as they restake their ground.

Sometimes we’re just dumb animals pawing at the same turf.

Edited to add: while chatting with her father about this, he remarked in a rare moment of eloquence that she is “a firecracker against a dark sky”. Which is damned true. Plus, she has that whole “narcing on her mother” thing happening.

2 Responses to “Differences”

  1. Simpsonslover June 21, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    She may well be that. But you two will also remain two bright lights in her own night sky. You have such clarity on this already – the likes of which I only hope I will have when our time against “the rest of them” comes – I’ll be keenly looking out for your further enlightenments on this.

  2. Sparka-Baracus June 21, 2007 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m free if you need me to slap dem fools.The Seagull rocks. And she craps all over them with her beautiful spirit.

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