19. Giraffe

17

While I was drawing this a man, and a young boy on a scooter, came along the footpath behind me, and as I turned to them the man bent forward and pointed at my drawing, said something to the boy and the boy smiled.
The boy, who was standing with one foot on his scooter, and holding the handle bars, was nodding his head and laughing so I waved and smiled and said hello.
‘Say hello.’ the man said to the boy, and the boy said hello to me.
I paused my podcast and asked the boy, who looked to be about 7, was wearing a white polo shirt, grey trousers and had black hair cut in the shape of a child from a Lego set, if he liked to draw.
The boy nodded and said yes very quietly.
‘Come over here and try my pastels then.’ I said to him.
I held out a pastel to him but he didn’t come over, he just put a hand up to his mouth and dropped his head forward in that conflicted way children do when they want but are unsure if they should have.
‘Come on, try.’ I told him. ‘It’s fun.’
He smiled then, and encouraged by the man, dropped the scooter and came to stand next to me.
‘Here, watch this.’ I said, and I drew a long fat line on the section of blank paper I leave on the edge of my paper for trying out colours.
‘Your turn.’ I said to him, and held out the pastel to him.
He leaned forward, took the pastel, and then with his arm outstretched and stiff, drew a long line of yellow ochre on the paper.
‘It’s CHALK!’ he shouted.
‘It IS’! I shouted back, and we both laughed.
Then the boy pointed to my can of fixative.
‘What’s that stuff?’ he said.
‘You know what smudging is?’ I asked the boy.
The boy shook his head, so I gave him a brief explanation and demonstration of smudging and then I said – ‘Now cover your nose and mouth, you don’t want this smelly stuff getting in there!’
The boy raised his eyebrows and slapped his hands over his mouth, and I sprayed fixative over the line he’d drawn.
‘Now watch this magic,’ I told the boy, wiping my hand across the fixed line, ‘see how it doesn’t smudge where I sprayed, so now I can draw over the top?’
‘What’s it called?’ he said.
‘Fixative.’ I told him.
The boy raised his eyebrows again and said ‘Oooooh, can I try?’
But before I could say yes, the man called to the boy and he went back to the footpath.
‘Hey,’ I called over to him, ‘do you draw at school?’
‘Yes,’ he called back, ‘and today I made a giraffe!’
‘You did? I said, ‘Woah! I wish I could see it!’
‘Ha!’ the boy said, throwing his hands up and describing the giraffe by yelling something I couldn’t understand.
The man and I were both enjoying the boy’s tale, when suddenly I heard a car’s screeching tyres and looked over to see a fat woman walking hurriedly from the car.
‘There you are, goddamn it, goddamnit, goddamn it!’ I heard her shriek at what I could see was a small beige dog ignoring her while it placidly shat on the sidewalk.

*Today’s podcast: Trumpcast-Raiding Trump’s fixer, dealmaker, lawyer.

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