The most gorgeous little boy came into my workplace today. I was talking to his mother when a blur of blonde swished past her hips; my view was blocked at first by the high counter behind which I stood, but when I brought the catalogue of Christening cakes to her table later, I couldn’t help but take a good look at what I knew would be a child cherubic enough to send Raphael into a frenzy of Sistine proportions.
And he was: his perfectly round little head, platinum under the sun just then, was now strawberry blonde verging on faux ginger as he sat where the light did not reach. Add to that a chubby buttermilk face that was freckle-free and spotless, fresh and soft the way all baby skin are, and add also his impossibly light, fairy-like golden lashes and you almost have the whole picture. Almost; but oh his eyes!
His eyes were like riverside woods: sepia speckled with crocodile green here and there if you cared to look, and I did. Those eyes were bright with childish wonderment and all the good in the world, they noticed mine noticing them, regarded me with gentle curiosity and that was it.
‘He is beauuutiful,’ I said to the mother whose face, in response to my reverent tone and beauty-struck eyes, took on the look of mothers whose angelic offspring are often admired in public by maternal women, themselves mothers and grandmothers (hang on, is that the sound of my maternal clock ticking?).
By then I was far too embarrassed to ask about his age and background, but he looked about four and spoke to his parents in Russian and English, the latter with an unmistakable Australian accent. Afterwards I bit my tongue and tried my best not to look at the little prince because it felt wrong somehow: he wasn’t mine to love and admire.