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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 11 page 03

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He looked at her, studying her face. “I’m not supposed to talk to people,” he stated matter of factly in a soft voice with an Australian accent.

“Well,’ said Annie, “I’m sure your parents would approve of me. I’m not people, I’m Annie. What’s your name?”

“Colin” he said. “But I don’t have parents. I have guardians.”

“Oh my. I hope they are guarding you very well then. I have some coins in my bag here but I have forgotten my glasses and I can’t see how much I have. Can you count out enough to get an ice cream cone for me from the kiosk up there? I would be very glad of your help and of course, get one for yourself too, if I have enough.” She pulled out a change purse and poured some change onto the sand. “Here, have a look and tell me what you think.”

“You’ve got heaps! Ice cream is only three euros. You’ve got enough for four conos.”

“Then I guess we had better get busy buying. Would you mind coming with me so you can give them the right change?”

“Alright, I could do that.”

He ambled along beside Annie up to the ice cream kiosk. Annie chose vanilla and Colin asked for two scoops of chocolate. He handed the attendant some coins and gave Annie back what was left over.

“You’ve been a big help to me. I really appreciate it, Colin. I’m going to go back to my own blanket over there, the yellow one,” she said, pointing. “You are welcome to join me if you want to.”

He looked at her with such sad eyes and said, “I guess I better, ’cause you might need me to help you buy something else and I can do adding in my head very fast.” He followed her to the blanket. They sat in companionable silence eating their frozen treats.

“I come here every day and I’ve seen you around but you always seem to be by yourself. No brothers or sisters, Colin?”

“I’m an only child. My mum and dad got in an airplane crash so they are dead. My auntie and her mister look after me now. They aren’t really good at being with kids. They like to hang out with older people so I get to spend a lot of time on my own.”

“I am so sorry to hear about your parents. How long ago did you lose them?”

“I was little, 5 years old. I don’t remember them a lot except that my dad was really tall and used to carry me on his shoulders. My mum smelled like flowers and was always hugging me.”

“Well, you seem to be a very independent young man. I have a feeling you will make out okay.” Annie smiled at Colin and he beamed back at her.

“Of course I will. I’m very independent!”

Annie looked at her watch. “I am afraid I have to get going Colin. I’ve been in the sun too long and I have some errands to do today. I’ll be here tomorrow, same spot, same time. If you are around, we can talk again if you like.

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