We’re sitting in the corner with our backs resting against the white-painted bookshelves. Eleven-year-old Bernice, who comes every Tuesday for an hour and a half with a group of school kids to the library on the farm where I’m currently working, and I have been reading a story about a bear named Rupert who finds a magical cave. We’ve taken a break for her to ask me all the questions she can think of about my life:
Where do you come from?
How old are you?
Where are you staying?
Why are you here?
Do you like games?
I reply that I don’t have a husband when she asks me his name.
“Ok, then. What’s your boyfriend’s name?” she asks.
I tell her I don’t have a boyfriend. I turn the question around on her. “Do you have a boyfriend? Is he your boyfriend?” I ask, pointing to one of the boys who is playing chess a few feet away from us.
She shakes her head emphatically. “No. Boys are ugly.”