I hate some kids. I’m no Mother Teresa, although possibly it’s easier to love children of wretched poverty in a distant land than those of prosperity in a nearby horse-and-hunt village. Wendy Jane is the kind of sulky, chubby only child that would have inspired Berkeley students (I’m class of ’81) to shout, “Eat the Rich” – with fava beans and a cheap Chianti.
I can sense the carbuncle of hatred and envy Wendy feels for me in return, and for my ten-year-old daughter, Gemma. Sullenly staring up at me, Wendy lacks her parents’ talent for sheathing anger in false bonhomie and backstabbing. In social settings, she is a focal point of negativity. Her gloom creates a sucking black hole as she actively seeks to share the despair she feels when guiltily stuffing her cheeks with cake. She arouses in me a mix of disgust and contempt that is unacceptable for an adult to feel for a minor, and so I do what every sensible grown-up would do given therapy and gas money: I avoid direct contact. [Read more…]