The Stare

Here’s a mildly disturbing conversation I had with my 6-year old son a week or so ago. After trying everything I could think of to get him to talk about his day, I finally asked about his ride home on the school bus.

“Okay, how about the bus ride? Anything happen on the bus?”

“Yeah,” he brightened. “There was a new guy on the bus!”

“Hey, that’s cool. Did you say hi?”

“Nah,” he shook his head. “But I stared at him.”

“You what?”

“He was in front of me, and off to the side,” he gestured with his hand to indicate where the new guy’s seat was relative to his, “so we really couldn’t talk.”

I tried to keep my expression neutral. “So you stared at him?”

“Uh-huh, for the whole ride.”


“I wanted him to know that we liked him, that he shouldn’t be nervous.”

I nodded. “Ah, and the stare did that? It let him know you were happy to have him on the bus.”


I scratched my chin and looked at the ceiling, trying to figure where to go with this. “I don’t think you needed to stare at him for the whole ride, though.”

“Well, I couldn’t look away. Then he might think I didn’t like him.”

“Did he ever look back at you?”

He thought about that one for a moment. “Mmmm… no,” he said. “I don’t think so. He would have had to look backwards.”

“Ah. Well, next time, how about speaking instead of staring?”

He tilted his head at me, clearly trying to decide if I was joking or not. “I suppose I could try that.”

“Yes, give it a shot. Who knows? It might work.”


In retrospect, I really wish I’d asked him to show me the stare he’d used.


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