Should’ve Let Her Eat It

, , , | Friendly | December 7, 2020

Our geography classes in senior year had a couple of big excursions running that parents could opt to send their kids on. The school picked some really awesome places to go, and during the camps, we would get to learn while physically surrounded by the course’s material, win-win.

One year, we went on a week-long trip to Fraser Island and Lady Elliot Island. Lady Elliot is a small island on the Great Barrier Reef, and while it’s only barely long enough for the light planes’ runway, there are heaps of things to do and see. Tourists flock there from around the world, and with a big communal dining hall, we met a lot of interesting people.

One little girl kept popping up randomly multiple times a day as our group was engaging in various activities on the tropical island. We were heading out snorkelling and the little girl went running by and slipped on some leaves. I helped her up and she dashed off without a sound. Leaving the dining hall, I saw her trip up the stairs. Again, I helped her up and asked if she was okay, as she had hit the floor rather hard with her elbow. She didn’t make a sound, but I got a fleeting smile as she dashed away.

The back of the hall had a couple of table tennis setups and our group found ourselves there most afternoons to relax and play a VERY weird version of table tennis. All surfaces were in play, including the people spectating, and this little girl would shyly scoot over to watch. She tripped again and went down into a loose drift of sand, so I plucked her from the sand and helped her dust as much as we could out of her hair. She smiled and grimaced in embarrassment before dashing off again.

These run-ins were adorable and I kind of figured she might be mute since I’d not heard her make a single sound, even when she bit it hard on the concrete one morning.

On our last day at Lady Elliot, we were leaving the dining hall and heading to our cabins to pack for the morning plane when, yet again, I saw this little girl. She was half-hiding behind a pillar and staring at me. Thinking this might be my last time seeing her, I approached, knelt down to her level, and said:

Me: “Hey there, hun. We are all leaving tomorrow. I won’t be around to help you up anymore. Be careful to keep both feet on the ground, yeah?”

And I gave her a big smile.

She grinned back, came out from behind the pillar, and declared, loud enough for everyone in the hall behind us to hear:

Little Girl: “You’re fat!

Then, she sprinted away. My friends laughed; I was in shock. Little brat! And people wonder why I tolerate children but don’t want any of my own.

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