A middle-aged woman came on the subway this morning with a small girl, maybe four or five years old. The girl sat a few seats away from me and the woman stood above her. I didn’t pay much attention to them but I caught the woman scolding the girl a few times. I read the paper and listened to my iPod. Then I heard the woman over the music.
“You are going to make me hurt you one of these days,” she told the child. She was smiling, playfully, without malice.
“Don’t believe me?” she said. “You don’t think grandma will hit you?”
Her words echoed in my head. The little girl sneezed.
“Bless you,” said her grandmother. “You need a tissue, sweetie?”