Weird how quick we become accustomed to playing mind games. Every day we have it on with our loved ones, bosses, workers, and if all else fails, ourselves. It’s a constant pulling and pushing of waves in the brain, either by doing business or discussing the failed grade nine math paper. I can’t remember when it started, probably already before the sandpaper and grinder started shaping my pre-primary school mind.
I remember seeing three little girls doing the hopscotch outside a local store on a balmy Saturday evening in summer a while ago. The leader laid the rules down in a very vocal way while the others seemingly disinterested listened intently. The leader had black hair, cut in a bob-style with intense green eyes and a voice which would, I presumed, one day command a few of her own children or office workers. She paused after her rant as if she wanted the approval - or rather - acceptance of her peers. The little brown eyed one paused, poking her foot against a lamp pole to astutely tell the leader that rules are rules and they should all abide by them. Strong willed that one, maybe no large voice but certainly an assured look under the blonde fringe.
The other little one was concentrating on some ants about to disrupt the hopscotch track and mumbled something of an affirmation. The leader asked her if she was really interested upon which the unspoken reply came from flashy grey eyes, accentuated by freckles and fiery red pony entwined hair.
Now I was starting to get interested in their little game because I could not see any of them bending the knee to the other. Usually we have all sorts in the friends we mix with, with at least one friend being the “lesser” dominant, or was that only later in life? I couldn't care less if my wife took another hour, I had something to watch.
They threw some stones around to determine who would start the proceedings, after which blonde fringe muttered that they all needed a practice round. Fiery red was not in agreement with this as it would waste time but the leader referred to the rules, and practice was part of it.
Blonde fringe smiled as if she had already won a round while fiery red stood one side with folded arms and a look of disdain at the edges of her mouth. Oh women; so fragile yet so strong, so soft yet ironclad.
I suddenly had a premonition that I could be targeted as a pedophile if a parent noticed me being interested in this group of energy, these days they’ll lock you up just for having that premonition. I also wondered where the parents were in any case; although crime was not rife in this neighborhood you never know who can pop out with intent. So a quick scan of the parking lot eased my mind of any unwelcome beasts lurking.
The game is going to get ruffled now. I see a fourth little one standing on the side, close enough to be seen but far enough not to interfere. This kid has auburn hair and brown eyes and my guess is she will be the beauty queen when they grow up. She’s seemingly busy with her own thoughts and looks at the supermarket customers walking by. Fiery red shouts out what sounded like Chantelle, upon which Beauty queen takes a step closer and asks to join. Now there is commotion, obviously Beauty queen and Fiery red are friends, but Blonde fringe and Leader will have none of it. Leader again stipulates the rules upon which Beauty queen asks if they still want to come to her birthday party next week. Done and dusted, the game is now for four. Mind games.
Must be from example how quickly we learn to manipulate situations in our favour. These girls can’t be older than 7 or 8 but know so well how to swing things. I guess it starts before we can even speak or walk, that is probably the only psychology I do know, how children use their parents and mind games to get what they want.
Suddenly Leader trips at the turnaround point and lands slap-bang on her bottom. Blonde fringe and Beauty queen burst out laughing but Fiery red tries to hold it together. Fiery red can only hold out for so long and now the parking lot is a world of laughter and giggles. Even I feel my tummy jumping because of the way the laughter comes so genuine while Leader is now crawling on the floor with giggles.
It is during this commotion that my wife opens the car door, looks at me and asks why I have that grin on my face. I explain pointing to the group of girls upon which she replies: “Thank heaven for little girls…”
And that’s what it is. Little boys are special, little dogs are cute, little birds are fluffy but there is always something about little girls. Such a pity we learn all these mind games.