Home Visit (A K’wow Story)

Not the girl we visited. Cute, though. (A Dreamstime image.)

[3-minute read]

Dreamily, we’d been visiting new friends, a young mother and her daughter, a freckled, smiley kid with straight auburn hair, cropped just below her earlobes. She had the radiant, gappily eccentric grin of somebody losing baby teeth and growing big ones. She was six or seven. She didn’t really have much to say, but she wasn’t timid.

My wife and I learned more about the woman. She was relaxed having new people into her small home, easy-going in her loving but not overly attentive side chats with her daughter. The details have become gauzy, ephemeral, except for this: so casual, so homely was our meeting that, at one point, I realized that the girl was washing her hair right in the middle of the living space, in a 19th-century tub. My bride had decided to recite a favourite meditation that she thought our young hostess would enjoy. I sat quietly. Just behind and to my right, the girl raised her head from the water.

Probably her ears were plugged; she was speaking more loudly than she had been before, and was clearly enjoying the oddness of surfacing from the small tub in the middle of an adult conversation. “WHAT’S GOING ON?” she blurted. My wife carried on with the psalm, the prayer, the poem, whatever it was. The girl’s mother tried a gentle ‘sshhh’, and I put my forefinger to my lips with a quick wink and a smile. “But HOW COME?” she blurted with a twinkle that showed she knew she was just a bit naughty. She did then lower her voice.

The girl also switched from English to her mother tongue. I guessed that she really did want to understand what was happening. Maybe she hadn’t known why these two strangers had come to her home. She clearly wondered why quiet was suddenly, and unusually, necessary.

I think she was asking why? It sounded to me like k’wow. She said it very softly, but she repeated it over and over.

K’wow    K’wow    K’wow    K’wow

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