I was home for Christmas, at my Aunt’s house for a family gathering and just returning from using the bathroom when I ran into my little niece playing on the stairs. She was about two or two and a half I suppose.
I had little experience of children and had never actually spoken to her directly before. I had only ever met her a couple of times before with living away from home.
I thought I should say something, make an effort. ‘What you doing out here in the cold?’ I asked.
‘Playing,’ she shrugged.
‘Everyone will be missing you.’
She looked up at me, smiled in a kind of reckless way and declared, ‘I couldn’t give a fuck!’
I was genuinely taken aback and had no idea how to respond. She has older sibling so I suppose she picked up the expression from them.
‘I know how you feel,’ I told her, holding out my hand. ‘I’d rather stay playing on the stairs too. But we had best go back before they come looking for us. And perhaps you shouldn’t use words like that until you are older. I think that might get you into trouble.’