Of boys, girls, oblivion, awareness and frustration; (or why women think men don’t understand them)

It goes like this:

I.

Flora: Sophia just can’t stand Cinder, she says. Remember that time we were all playing grounders, and Cinder kept tagging her out? She still remembers that, and she just hates him.

Cinder: Who’s Sophia?

II.

Flora: Tammy hates Cinder. She’s so mad about the time the boys stole our shoes–remember?–and buried them in the gravel. She’s sure Cinder took her boots. She just hates him.

Cinder: Who’s Tammy?

III.

Flora: I think Emily kind of likes Cinder. She says she doesn’t, but she’s always asking me what he’s doing and if he’s coming out and stuff. Yup, I think she likes him. What do you think of Emily, Cinder?

Cinder: Who’s Emily?

Meanwhile, Cinder’s not-quite-three-year-old brother has a different attitude:

IV.

Jane: For heaven’t sake, Ender! What are you doing?

Ender: I throwing gravel at that little girl. And I go push her over. Hee hee hee.

Jane: I know–I saw. Why? Why? Why would you do that?

Ender: Because she so pretty. (Pause) I do it again!

V.

Ender: We sit here, Mama. Come sit here.

Jane: OK, sure. Why are we sitting here?

Ender: So I look at that girl. See? She’s so pretty!

VI.

Jane: In the car, dude!

Ender: My friend Izzy! I go give her hug, ok? And kiss. And tell her she’s so pretty.

VII.

Ender: Where we going, Mama?

Jane: We’re going to see our friends Victoria and Elizabeth and Loch and Baby M…

Ender: Oh, I love Baby M. I hug her and kiss her, and wrestle her and hug her…

Jane: I know, dude. Go easy on the wrestling, okay? I don’t think she likes it.

Ender: Oh, she likes it. She so pretty. She loves me too.

And then, there’s this:

VIII.

Cinder: Mom? You know how Creeper and Paulo and all those guys keep on talking about girls and stuff now?

Jane: Um, yeah?

Cinder: Well, I’m not really into girls at all. But… I’m starting to think boobs are really cool.

Oh, boy.

Flora

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