I love gaining the trust of a child, maybe a child of eleven, or six, and when you meet at first they’re shy or lingering, and then, with patience, you draw them out, like spinning a thread (so I imagine) and it’s beautifully quick, suddenly they’re tugging on your fingers, saying let’s go see my room! and you’re back, powerfully, instantly, going to inspect Aladdin’s cave.
That moment happens so fast, with most children. There are a few questions they ask, the easy acid tests. But the answers aren’t so important, it turns out. It’s a waiting game, it’s a bitten-lip time lapse formality, and if you are patient and respectful, if you are present, if you can look into the child’s eyes and wait, and really listen, then the rush happens and the watchful eyes brim with pleasure, and you’re in!
And there’s so much to inspect. Bits of broken chain, jewels, the rhinestones she and her best friend studded their pictures with, the patterned tea light from China whose battery is dead and a Christmas ball from last year that hangs in the corner and for a little while you see with your old-young eyes, the ones that saw the silk scarf as a bed for a queen, the dollhouse where your parents never argued, the cabinet where your kitty hid, and, delightedly, why was the kitty in the cabinet?