I left Franny and Strudel alone in the children’s section, reading happily, and walked a few feet over to the CD rack to see if I could find some reasonably non-offensive CDs to be played at bedtime again and AGAIN until they are spun into silvery dust.
There were two little girls sitting at the tables directly adjacent to the children’s CD racks. They were engaged in that eight-year-old girl psychological warfare that adults either miss, or choose not to notice.
“Your teeth are so YELLOW,” one girl hissed to her companion. “You should really brush them more often.”
“I DO brush them,” her friend retorted, in hushed tones.
“I mean, I have never seen such yellow, dirty-looking teeth as yours. Ugh.”
“They ARE NOT!”
This exchange went on for a few minutes until the girl with the teeth lost it and socked her little frenemy.
“OW,” the taunter said, at full volume. “You shouldn’t hit people.”
They remained unsupervised and I paused in my browsing, looking up at the sound of the taunter’s louder voice. She looked up at me, now visible, and the girl with the teeth slowly looked over her shoulder. They both waited to see what this adult would do. I looked at the girl with the teeth.
“I would have hit her, too,” I said, and went back to browsing.