She peered over the brown picket fence, bobbing up and down on her heels. Her eyes sparkled as she took in the riot of colors. So many flowers!
Suddenly, a face. A face browned by the sun, streaked with mud and half hidden by bushy eyebrows and a thick stubble – the face of someone who didn’t care how he looked because nobody else did. At least, not till that day.
Her eyes, big with fear, met the old, drooping eyes squinting out of the hairy face for a few stunned seconds. Then, she gave a piercing scream and ran. The man, a small spade in his gloved hands, watched as she ran into the house next door and slammed the door shut. If his face was more visible, it would have been seen to be wearing a look of unmasked confusion.
Next day, a man rang the bell at the little girl’s house. In his hands was a bunch of butter-yellow sunflowers. The girl’s mother opened the door with a polite smile. A little face peeped from behind her legs. The man bowed in greeting to the woman, and bent down to offer the flowers to the little girl.
She came out from behind her mother, eyes dancing as she caressed the sunflowers. She looked up at the wrinkled face of the man, smiled an angelic smile, and murmured ‘Thank You.’ Anybody could say he was proudly thinking My clean shave look bowled her over!
She ran barefeet across the green carpet of grass, burying her nose in the roses, gathering up the fallen hibiscus in her arms, chasing butterflies. The man sat in his living-room and watched through the window. Every now and then, he looked up at a laminated photograph of his grand-daughter on the dresser, oceans away.