Monday, 13 June 2011

Perfectly timed awkward questions

Inspired - or reminded - by a post over at Gen's Life: About a year ago I was looking after some kids by the river in Richmond.

One of the little darlings was a slightly autistic young chap - let's call him Henry - of around six years old. One of his 'things' was reading. He had to be reading something when out and about.

On this occasion he was reading one of the Harry Potter books. All well and good - until he finished it just as his mum called to say she was running late.

The little guy got agitated and starting rocking and getting quite upset - not about his mum being late, about having nothing to read.

Luckily I had a copy of my humorous science fiction book in the car. I couldn't recall any naughty bits or horrible violence - actually, I barely remember writing it - so, after a moments pause, I thought, why not? And handed it over.

Henry dived right in. He was happy again, none of the other kids had drowned in the river. All was well.

An hour or so later Henry's mum arrived. She noticed her beloved son reading, apologised for not leaving more material, and asked what it was. I explained, with a little pride, it was my own work and Henry seemed to be enjoying it.

At that, Henry looked up and said, "Mum, what's 'bollocks'?"

Ah. I'd forgotten that bit.

Henry's mum took my book, gave it back to me, and, taking her cherub's hand in hers, left.

In case you're wondering, Henry's mum and I are Okay now. Though she does seem to carry a lot of children's reading material around with her.