On all fours under the desk on the hot veranda, I try to get my phone to charge, when around the corner a little face appears. The Little Prince, I think, and say “hallo.” He is simply the most beautiful boy. And then, without warning, he runs over to me, gives me a hug, and whispers in my ear, “shara-lee-sheshe.” Suddenly I want to cry. I come from a country where children are taught not to trust strangers, but the children who grow up on boats run around the marina without a care in the world.
“Shara-lee-sheshe.” What does it mean. I take him around to the toilets. “Is this what you want, the toilets?” But no, this is not it. I call over to the moms at the big table, threading beads with their girls. “Oh yes, that one is mine!” says a young mother. I ask her what the Little Prince meant, and she kneels down for him to whisper to her as well.
“No, I don’t know either.”
But then it dawns on me. He cast a spell of happiness.