The Two-Toed Woman
My daughter, although very talkative, is not very forthcoming, and in fact one of the most traumatic experiences of her life was buried deep in her until she confessed it to her favourite aunt. Such confessions tend to come at night, as we lay waiting for sleep, discussing her standard night-time question: “What have we done today?”
It was during bedtime of the second day at daycare that she mentioned to me the woman without toes.
Or more accurately, without three toes.
Her experience at daycare had so far been a roaring success. A little blond angelic girl had made friends with her, they were continually holding hands, hugging, and whispering to each other, language being no barrier. Her teacher had said she was excellent, and my daughter was angry with us for coming so soon to pick her up.
So on the second day, we went a bit later.
And that night, with her arms around my neck, she shyly told me that a woman who had only two toes, the big one and the last one, and “skin in the place of other toes” had entered their room in the afternoon. Not only did she have just two toes, she also very tall, so much that if she had been a little bit taller, her head would have touched the ceiling, according to my daughter.
My daughter had immediately assumed that this woman had come to take her away. Look at the paranoia lurking deep in the heart of even the most innocent creatures! Why would she think that? Why would she think we had sent a two-toed giantess to pick her up? Lacking English, my daughter could not explain her fears to her teacher, and she had started crying desperately …
Hugging her so hard that she was in danger of breaking her neck, I explained to her that only three people were allowed to pick her up from the daycare: her mother, father, and her uncle, and the daycare was not allowed to give her to ANYBODY else. By this time, my daughter was red-faced, laughing hysterically at her own tale and my shocked reaction, and tears were streaming from her eyes. When she was a bit calmer, I told her that some people sometimes had accidents, and one should act polite and ordinary with these persons.
While inside, I was screaming “Why doesn’t she wear socks?? Why the hell doesn’t she wear socks? Who wants to know about her f**** accident?”