Coming back to campus as a Final Year student is like a little customized paradigm shift – there was not much science involved, but merely a switch of responsibilities. I’m now forced to exercise a skill I excel pathetically in: decision-making.
But The Child is learning, the child is learning.
I was at Popular’s bookstore and I stumbled upon two kinds of white manila cardboard. They were similar, but their surfaces were slightly different. So there I was, staring at two white blank sheets that look almost alike, wondering which to pick.
I stood there. For at least 15 minutes.
I could think of a list of people who would be pissed at me at that moment.
Then I decided to go for the tie-breaker. The price tag. Why didn’t the cheapskate in me thought of that before? Gave myself a pat on the shoulder and headed for the counter.
The queue wasn’t long, but the customer in front of me was being quite a fuss. After a long wait I was glad to finally have my turn. Until two little kids, their height barely reaching my waist (I’m not very tall), scoot right in front of me and placed their coloring books on the counter. I was more relieved that I did not accidentally knock them over than being upset over the fact that they jumped queue. The female cashier looked at me to see my reaction, and I responded with a wide grin, amused with what happened. I could tell she was surprised, and smiled back at me.
The siblings who adorably stole my turn were eager to pay, so much so that both of them were tugging onto the RM10 note, keenly passing it to the cashier. I don’t think they had a clue of how much change to expect, but it probably wasn’t their problem at that moment. One step at a time, aye? First, learn how to give the money. Worry about queuing etiquettes and the math later.
They were shorter than the counter, and had to tip toe to get that little bit of reach. I remember when I was about that tall, I couldn’t wait to be much taller too. Everything seemed to be passing by too slowly, and I was getting sick of the “Under-12” and “You must have your IC first” phrases my cousins would use to deny my access from their supposedly grown-up agendas.
Now I find myself doing that to other kids.
I wonder if those two siblings know what is in store for them. That act of paying probably signifies the start of spending, saving, and spending some more. How will they like the taste of spending their own hard-earned money? Will they then acquire enough courage like their parents to ensure they will never run dry?
Just as I imagined the near future for those two, another incident snapped me back into reality.
Once they received their change from the cashier, the little boy smacked his sister in the head with their new purchase. And they started running around the entire bookstore, yelling at one another in a language I once understood.
I stole another glance at the cashier.
And we both started laughing really hard.