The boy in the pushchair was about two. For the first ten minutes of our journey together he looked at me intently, but with no expression on his face. His staring didn’t worry me and I continued chatting with Will as the bus rumbled on.
But I was aware that the boy hadn’t taken his eyes off me and eventually I decided to hold his gaze for a moment. When I did his face lit up with a cheeky smile, and still grinning he carefully showed me his feet, his trousers and the elephant on his t-shirt.
A few minutes later we had this conversation, triggered by a tic:
TH: Yes, cats.
Boy: Ahh, cats!
Quite how funny this was gets a bit lost when it’s written down. Will described the way the boy had said ‘Ahh, cats’ as being like a ‘moment of epiphany’.
I love these unexpected, fleeting and amazingly warm moments with children I don’t know.
Will and I got off the bus feeling cheerful – I very much hope the boy and his mum felt the same.