Mandy Gaziel

I'm alive

Bet Shemesh, Israel


I have a degree in English Literature and Judaica, but have worked in a field completely different for over 20 years - biotech and pharmaceutical quality management.

I enjoy writing in my spare time, having published articles online and in local magazines.

I live with my family opposite some rolling hills in Ramat Bet Shemesh, Israel.

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The Girl In Pink

Jun 27, 2019 3 months ago

It's a Saturday afternoon and I'm doing the most normal of activities – sitting on a park bench and watching my children play! It is shady under the sumptuous trees, and the pleasant breeze wafting across my face hints of summer soon to come. I'm drowsy and ever so comfortable on this warm bench. As I scan the park to check my kids, my eyes are drawn toward one particular child in a pink outfit. She is swinging – jerking and tugging at the swing to make it twist around. She is giggling loudly, much louder than any of the regular clamor that goes on in a playground. She is so loud that heads turn in her direction. She is having a wonderful time, yanking the swing and shouting with pleasure. Despite the disproving looks in her direction I can't help but smile. My mind wanders again amid the muted sounds of children playing. Snippets of conversation in various languages from the adults around me swim in and out of my consciousness. Somewhere there is a droning bee. The peace is shattered by a loud screech – like skidding car tires: "Mommy! MMM OOO MMM", the pink girl screams in a horribly high-pitched voice, "I'm taking off my shoes", and without waiting for an answer kicks off her shoes carelessly in mid-swing. My reverie pierced into wakefulness I take in my surroundings: It's a weekend, so a whole plethora of nationalities and ages dot the playground; it's a study in anthropology. I watch my young son playing, enjoying his little antics and making sure he doesn't get into trouble. A lady sits down on the bench next to me. Her girls look like they've stepped out of a children's fashion magazine. The oldest starts taking off her shoes. "No it's dangerous" counters the mother, "leave them on!" "What could be dangerous in a park?" I ask the mother curiously. "Broken glass and old needles" she confidently tells me, tossing her curls. There is no glass in the sand, and I don't see any needles. This is a suburb, not the "hood". I look around: not one single child is barefoot apart from the girl in pink. Is there something wrong with me? Isn't it the most normal thing for a young child to be barefoot on a lovely warm day, with a taste of summer just around the corner? I check my son next to me, happily pouring sand through a bright blue sifter. Someone is screaming! Every head in the park jerks toward the girl in pink. She is having a fit of rage at someone who has ordered her off the swing to allow another child to have a turn. She gets off in a huff and stomps off, kicking up sand as she walks, her face a mask of anger. The remains of a chocolate ice cream are smeared around her mouth. In mid pout she notices the round-a-bout and hops on with some other kids. Soon she is transported into another world, her anger forgotten. A boisterous, almost raucous laughter escapes her. Her hair is riotous, locks escaping her elastic band as she spins around. The other children swirl quietly, but this child is laughing, throwing her head back in excitement. And then it's time for something else. She bounces off and heads towards the jungle gym with its massive slide. Hauling herself up I hear the girl shrieking "Mommy, Mommy, look at me". Heads swivel, every eye on this loud and animated child. " Mommy, look at me" she screams again insistently, "Look how high I am". I am aware of the old ladies on the next bench shaking their heads and tutting. The woman next to me looks at me with a raised eyebrow and a commiserating smile. I return the smile, the pink girl is indeed loud and annoying. But as I watch her antics I'm drawn to her irrepressible spirit. Her zest for life, her sparkling soul is shining out of her so strongly, it is shouting as loudly as her voice: "Look at the child inside me. I can't help being loud and messy and energetic. I am clever and creative, I have great ideas and I'm bubbly and warm". I recognize all the classic signs of ADHD, and I ache for the child. Living with a chemical imbalance can be so difficult. I imagine what this child will have to go through in life. So much misunderstanding and frustration. So much struggle. But I also think of what ADHD adults are capable of if they survive their childhoods without too many scars. Wonderful creative individuals. I know, because I am one myself (and while I know that I am creative, I hope that I am wonderful!) My son toddles over, dirty and exultant. "I hungy" he declares, chubby fingers pulling open my bag to search for treats. Snacks are done, so I know it's time to go home. I strap my boy into the stroller, thoughts already on supper, bath time, etc. With a backward glance I call to my daughter that we are leaving and she should come now, and amazingly she scampers over. I am surprised and happy that my darling girl listened to me without having to repeat myself, and I tell her so, with a big hug and kiss. And then we leave the park. Myself, my son, and the girl in pink.

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