So, I got to cover 6th-grade lunch today (mind you I don’t know any of these kids because I’ve never covered this lunch before), and this happened:
A small sixth-grade girl comes bounding, literally bounding, up to me. She’s got a cold sore in the left corner of her mouth, and her arms are just a little too long to fit her torso. They flop at her sides as she runs like she meant to glue her arms in their entirety to her sides, then ran out of glue after finishing just the upper parts. But her eyes were the brightest in the whole cafeteria, and the light made them sparkle just as she jumps and lands in front of me and excitedly asks, “What’s your name?”
Confused, I say, “My first name? That's a secret!”
She cocks her head to the side and matter-of-factly says, “No! Your last name!” As if there was no other name I could possibly have.
“Oh!” I laugh. “I’m Miss Stout! What's your name?”
With even more excitement, she proudly exclaims, “I’m Katie!”
Smiling, I say, “Oh! Hello, Katie! It’s very nice to meet you.”
And then, awkward silence. Katie stares intently at me for a minute, finally saying, “You’re really pretty!”
Startled, I manage to blurt out, “Why, thank you, Katie! You’ve just made my day!”
And then my co-op, who had been standing next to me this whole time shyly says, “Katie, you've never told me that I'm pretty,” and then feigns a frown.
Katie takes a moment to contemplate this, again cocking her head to the side. Then, she straightens up, smiles and reaches out and pats my co-op on the arm. “You look nice.”
Katie then bounds off to get her pepperoni roll without another word.