She was one of the first children I met. Amongst the sea of noises, faces, and children, I saw her standing there, quietly observing her surroundings. She saw me too and our eyes met for a brief moment. She looked at me with a curious face and tilt her head to the side as she watched me. Our brief, mutual, gaze of recognition was interrupted by a sudden outbreak of noises that broke out next to me and when I looked in her direction again, she was gone.
For a couple minutes I searched for her amongst all the little children running about, but to no avail.
And then, I saw her. She was sitting on the ground, away from all the others, and she was drawing pictures in the sand with her finger. I walked over and she looked up at me, not all surprised to see me there, and gave me a look that seemed to say, “It’s about time you came over”.
She motioned for me to sit next to her and she took my finger and began to show me how to draw pictures in the sand. We were silent for a few minutes before I ventured to say, “My name is Mary”. Se looked at me and studied my face for a long while… I felt like she was watching my eyes for something. Then, with a sudden outbreak of a smile, she said, “I’m Xydine.”
Xydine. I like that. It fit her.
We sat the rest of the time in silence, enjoying one another’s company as we created masterpieces in the sand. Xydine was different then the others. She had a gentle secret in her eyes. A mysterious secret that became more and more beautiful, because it remained hidden. When she looked at you, she seemed, in an instant, to take all of you in and then would sit and ponder what she saw. She touched the ground so gently, she saw the world so gracefully. Such wisdom in such a little person. I watched her as she would drag her finger through the dirt, making little shapes and symbols. There was passion in her eyes, deep history.
When it was time to go, we walked back towards the crowds of children. As we walked, she put her hand in my hand with a quiet reassurance and when I looked down at her face, she smiled back at me with a twinkle in her eye, pondering.