My neighbor came over for a drink earlier this evening. She is a single mom and has a seven-year-old daughter who goes to the same school as my eldest. When my children are at my house (they are at their father’s this evening) they play with this girl, let’s call her Gigi, constantly.
My neighbor and I drank rosé and ate cheese. Gigi ate cherries and talked excitedly about her upcoming birthday party, asking eagerly if my son would be coming. At one point she observed that she sometimes says hello to my son—let’s call him Milo—at school.
“I’ll say, ‘Hi Milo!’ but then he doesn’t always say hello to me,” she explained. “He acts kind of weird.”
“Hmmm.” I said. “Weird how?”
“Like the other day, I passed him in the yard, and I said, ‘Hi, Milo!’ and he said, ‘Oh. Hello, Gigi.’ And then he just kept walking.”
“Huh,” I said.
She continued. “And I said, ‘Hi, Milo!’”—here she paused to find the right words—“I said ‘Hi, Milo,’ like, with expression. And he just said [putting on a frosty voice], ‘Oh. Hello, Gigi.’”
She looks to me for an explanation for this odd behavior.
Then I catch my neighbor’s eye and we both start cracking up.
“They don’t change, honey. They just get older,” my neighbor says to her daughter, dryly.