Yesterday, Viva and I were out and about. She was in a great mood because we had spent pretty much the entire weekend together and I am about 85% back to normal health. This means I’m not running around in the backyard playing tag with her, but I am able to spend several hours at a time with her before needing a break. We have been cooking together, drawing together, reading, playing games, doing puzzles, and the like. Despite her being in a very contrary phase wherein if you say one thing, she will say the exact opposite for no apparent reason, I have really been enjoying our time together.
So we were in the Cost Plus World Market, chumming around together, picking out a few Christmas ornaments (which, really, is ridiculous since it’s mid-November, but don’t even let me commence) and getting some curtains, and then we went to pay for our purchases. As we were being rung up, the cashier looked at Viva and back at me and said, “She is your daughter?”
“Yeah, yeah she is,” I said, picking up one of the bags and putting it in the cart.
“She looks so different from you,” she said.
“Do you think so?” I said. “I think she looks a lot like me.”
“My daughter is sort of like that,” she said, staring at Viva. Viva started to wrap her arms around my leg and hide her face. “Her skin is not the same.”
“Hmm,” I said, because at that point I just wanted to get out of the store. I don’t think this woman (who had white skin and spoke with an unidentified accent) was trying to be rude, but if in fact she did have a child who looks different from her, she might be expected to understand that it’s not polite to point that out. I had no desire to bond with her over whatever she felt we had in common, it was clearly making Viva uncomfortable, and added to that, there was a line of people behind us – none of whom was (visibly, at least) a person of color. I realize to most people we look different because they are not looking closely. I look white, and Viva looks black. The fact that we are both a mixture of both is not readily apparent. It is not easy. It is not comfortable. It’s also not anybody’s business but ours.
Anyway, we paid for our things and we left the store, and we ate ginger cookies in the car on the way home, me and my little daughter whose skin is not the same. And by God, we were happy to be together.
All the same, it’s been nibbling away at the back of my brain. I’m irritated. And Viva, home today with a nasty cough, is evidently not napping, so this post ends here.