Today I got hit on at the beach, by a kid. I wasn’t aware at the time, but my older sisters let me know (‘cause let’s face it, they are older and wiser). My pheromones must be out of whack.
So basically my sister and I were slathered in sand with her son and our nephew at the beach, building a mackin’ sand fort capable of defending the earth from masses of sea lice. This boy rocks over and hunkers in down next to my sister and starts helping out. I came over to join in. The conversation went along the lines of ‘hey, how’s it going?’ With some ‘what’s your name?’ introductions and niceties. Then it all went a bit interesting. Here’s the abridged dialogue:
Kid: Where do you live?
Me: I live at The Mount.
Kid: Far, that’s a long way to come.
Sis: I’ve come from around Auckland.
Me: Do you live (here), at Maketu?
Kid: Who are your sons?
Me: I don’t have any sons. These are my nephews.
Kid: Don’t aunties have sons?
Sis: Aunties can have sons. He is my son and he is my nephew.
Kid: Don’t you have any kids?
Me: Nope, I don’t have any kids.
Kid: What about a husband?
Me: Um no, he’s not around anymore.
Kid: Did he die?
Me: Yep, he did. We had a big tangi.
Kid: Was it sad?
Me: Yep, it was really sad.
Kid: Did you cry heaps?
Kid: Do you still cry?
Me: Sometimes I do, but not as much as I used to.
Kid: Oh. How old are you?
Me: I’m 31. How old are you?
Kid: I’m 7. But I look like I’m 8, aye?
Me: Mmmm…. Yeah, you sure do.
Kid: Do you have a dad?
Me: Yep, but he’s at home resting.
Kid: Oh. Do you think if a koro walks for a long time, he will die?
Me: Hmmmm….. Not usually, no. He might stop and have a rest if he walks a long way.
Kid: What about a sick koroua? If he walked for ages, would he die?
Me: I think if he was really sick, he wouldn’t walk too far.
Kid: Actually, I go to school at The Mount.
Me: Really? That’s a long way to go to school.
Kid: Do you want to go and sit up on the grass?
Me: It’s ok, I’m going to stay here with my nephews building this fort. But you are welcome to sit with my family if you want.
After the waves washed our fortress away, I left to sunbathe next to my sisters and enlightened them on the conversation with the 8 year old wannabe. The kid stayed on the beach, lying there sprawled like a starfish, waiting; holding onto a semi-deflated tyre tube. He rolled over, looking up towards us and I waved. He shyly reciprocated.
When we packed up and left, he’d move up the beach. I said “Goodbye!” he turned his head the other way and let out a small “bye”. My sisters gave me heaps, saying stuff along the lines of ‘must’ve broken his heart’. Apparently that’s me, the unintentional heartbreaker of plucky youth. Better luck next time boy.
Tangi (short for tangihanga) – a Maori funeral ceremony
Koro – grandfather, old man
Koroua – grandfather, old man