In the display window at the Emporium, the display window which separates me in my infamous window seat from the street, is a sculpture on a mechanically-rotating lazy susan. It is of a nude model and a group of artists painting her.
Walking by is a girl of about 3, with very blonde hair and long, dark, Sullivanesque eyelashes. The sculpture stops here and she watches it, fascinated. Her finger taps the glass each time a new sculpted person rotates in front of her. She seems to be talking to it. The grown-up she is with tries to get her to continue walking- but not too strenuously, and she ignores him, fixated, and he leans against the building and waits for this fancy to pass.
Another small child, a boy of about 5, and his grown-up approach. The boy has light brown hair and the same eyelashes as the girl. He watches the sculpture with the same intent, only without all the movement. He places his forehead against the glass and is still.
But he is invading the girl’s space. She pushes him away and yells. Unphased, his eyes never leaving the sculpture, he returns to the window. The sculpture is in the corner of the display, where two windows meet at not-quite-a-90-degree angle. The girl shoves the boy again, to the other window, where he takes his place.
With peace now declared the children continue to study the sculpture while their grown-ups talk amongst themselves.
The boy loses interest first, but not before asking, “Mommy, what’s that little brown spot?” The girl eventually loses interest herself and, in exploring the rest of the display, discovers me watching her through the window. She smiles widely but shyly and looks away quickly. We exchange the same look a couple more times, then they are gone.
They return but then I am across the street, and the girl and I play a round of peek-a-boo, her hiding behind a tree and a rubbish bin, me hiding behind my friend Rachel.