I was having dinner at this Japanese fastfood restaurant when halfway through my meal, two young boys sat at the table behind me. The older one must have been 15, the younger one could have been 13 or thereabouts. They were talking about computer games while their parents were at the counter ordering for the family. The older boy was channeling mild goth angst. The younger one seemed to have newly discovered the joys of fads and fashion. His hair slicked up with a generous gob of some hair styling product. His pink shirt buttoned all the way up. Both of them trying to sound grown up with an occasional yelp that betrayed them when they got excited. I went back to my reading while I picked at my food. I only became conscious of them again when a Miley Cyrus song started playing on the restaurant’s PA system. I heard a small voice singing along to the music with so much enjoyment I had to look and see who it was. There at the table with the boys I mentioned earlier was a younger boy of around 6 or 7. He was swaying to the music and waving his arms with an occasional snapping of his fingers.
“It’s our party we can do what we want
It’s our party we can say what we want
It’s our party we can love who we want
We can kiss who we want
We can sing what we want”
He was dressed like any ordinary boy, in a gray shirt and jeans, a bit thin for his age. His jeans rode up his ankles to reveal bright red socks inside white sneakers. I smiled to see a boy thoroughly enjoying himself and wondered how the rest of the family was taking it. His father looked distracted like he had other things on his mind. His mother had her back turned to me but I could see the trace of a smile at the corner of her mouth while looking at her youngest. The other two boys looked bored like they couldn’t wait to get back home to the games they were talking about earlier. Otherwise, they weren’t minding their little popstar. Something about this whole scene touched me. Where I used to run off to ricefields, to rivers, to woods to sing my songs where no one could hear me and think me strange, this boy was singing and dancing his heart out in a restaurant in front of his family. How secure he must feel in their love. How sure he must have been that his song and dance will not meet with derision and ridicule. I wanted to congratulate the whole family. And thank them. The little boy must have sensed that he was being watched and turned to look at me. I felt embarrassed to have been caught watching him in his joy. I tentatively smiled at him afraid he will stop his musical number if he started feeling conscious. He flashed me a dazzling smile and went on with his singing and dancing. I almost cried. I returned to my reading with a smile on my face and a slightly warmer heart. Thanks to a little boy in red socks.
Sing it, boy. And never stop. You know you can’t. You know you won’t.