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  • We were sitting on the sofa. My 5-year old nephew stared at my nose intently. I rubbed it, fearing a mascara smudge or worse still, a bogey.

    "What are they?" he asked, pointing, his wee nose scrunched up like a bad smell had passed by.

    " What?" I didn't understand - had I massive spot, a bite, perhaps on my nose? I began to get up, heading for the bathroom mirror.

    " It's brown dirt, Aunty LouLou, lots of them. You should wash them off. They're all over your face, spoiling it."

    I stopped in the doorway, and turned round. "Brown dots?" I said, a smile forming on my lips.

    "Yes! I can help you wash them!" He jumped up and bounded to my side. He looked up at me solemnly, nodding in earnest. He loves to help, feels like a big boy and good.

    " No, thanks Elijah, I've always had them, they're part of my face".

    " But you'll look prettier without them, can't you wash them away?".

    " No, Elijah, I can't".

    "Why not?".

    "Because they're part of the colour of my skin".

    "Eww". The look of innocent but pure disgust on my usually kind-hearted 5-year old nephew's face evoked a new feeling in me, one I don't recall ever having felt before. Unintentional or not, how often does a child hurt your feelings?
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