She wore a hijab

She wore a hijab, a scarf around her neck, a baggy sweater and a long black skirt.

 She smiled at me with pretty brown eyes as Graham and I settled in beside her and her toddler daughter at our local library’s story time and sing-a-long yesterday. 

I nodded and said hello before turning my attention to Graham who had already slipped away and was pounding enthusiastically on the fire exit door at the back of the room.

 I corralled him, returned to our seats and tried interest him in the librarian whose story seemed to have the rapt attention of the half-dozen other toddlers present. 

Graham dashed to the front of the room and began to hunt enthusiastically through the box of props beside the librarian while I watched him tensely, calculating whether hauling him back to his seat would be more or less disruptive than letting him continue. 

He thrust a stuffed animal in the air with a gleeful snort. I cringed and leaned forward, ready to make me move.

  The woman beside me caught my eye and shrugged conspiratorially. He’s fine.  

“Here you go!” Graham thrust the animal in the storyteller’s lap, knocking the book out of her hands.

  The reader laughed good-naturedly while I scurried forward, scooped up Graham apologetically and returned him to our seats. Within seconds he had bolted and was playing among the curtains at the back window. 

The woman beside me giggled.

  “I don’t know why he’s not paying attention,” I whispered weakly. “He’s been looking forward to this all week.” 

“Oh, mine same.” She spoke in a thick accent I couldn’t place. She waved her hand at her daughter who was quietly busying herself with a doll.  

I nodded grateful, for her kindness.

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