Shrieks and laughter coloured the evening as the children played inside the safely closed gate. Toy cycles lying around received occasional attention. There was a pink one that needed to be pushed, while the green and orange one had pedals. The children were tossing a big ball around and screaming for joy whether it was caught or missed.
On the other side, two children stood in trance, holding on to the gate, unmindful of the scurrying vehicles right behind them. Their grandfather sat a little distance away, next to a big metal box.
Came a visitor, who left the gate ajar. The girl, the smaller of the two absorbed spectators, gingerly stepped in. The boy followed, more circumspect, slower, ready for a quick retreat. But she kept walking forward, transfixed.
She finally reached the pink cycle. And she touched it. Another shriek, not on account of the ball this time, and the cycle was immediately taken away. Spell broken, she came running back to the gate. Her laughter lit up her face in the gathering gloom of the dusk.
Together, they closed the gate after them and ran back to their grandfather. It was time.
He got up with an effort and opened the big box. One by one, the two children handed him the things spread out by the roadside–brushes, laces, pieces of leather and small bottles of shoe polish.
Then she followed her grandfather home, still smiling.
This is also published at http://www.wrisources.com/musings.html.