“Hey, you wanna play ping-pong?”
Hmm…feign enthusiasm or just say, no thanks and be on my way? Stupid question. I mean she’s only eight. How much of a challenge can it be?
“Sure. Sounds like fun.” But just in case: “I haven’t played in years. And I hurt my playing arm yesterday doing important grown up things. And this paddle looks a little old.”
She smiled, a glint in her eye that said – well, I’m not sure what it said, but there was a definite chill in the room all of a sudden.
She flicked her wrist and a ball appeared in her hand. She bounced it rapidly on the table and served…Into my eye.
“Oh I’m so sorry,” she said, grinning widely. “Point to me.”
As I was blinking back tears, she served again, just nicking my ear as it sailed into the wall behind me.
“I guess that makes it another to you then, eh?” I managed, trying a small laugh.
“Sure does. You wanna keep playing, or do you wanna go crochet or something?”
My eye twitched a little. “Serve away.”
She smirked. I managed to return her next serve but slipped over in my enthusiasm, hitting my head as I went down. “I’m okay,” I called from the floor.
“Oh that’s a relief. I guess that’s to me again,” she said. “Shall we continue?”
A black eye and possible sprained wrist later, I suggested we call it a day. Wouldn’t be right to encourage her any further.
But ten minutes later, she’d found me cowering in the garden.
“Wanna play baseball?”