It was during our fourth day in Taipei that we met Q宝 at the 早餐店 down the street from my grandma’s place.
He was an adorable little sunshine boy of three years old, happily running around the legs of the shopkeeper’s assistant, cherub cheeks and all.
When we first saw him, he was outside, crouched by the tables under the sun. In one hand he held a bar of half-melted chocolate and in the other, a handful of dirt.
“Q宝, get back in here! It’s blazing hot outside!”
He grinned cheekily at the sound of his mother’s voice and remained crouched silently next to the tables, as though he could turn invisible just by staying completely still.
He giggled – an adorable little squeak almost – and ran back into the shade. His mother sat him at our table soon after, and we had a short but lovely conversation which consisted of us trying to wheedle his name out of him, while he laughed shyly and hid his face behind his tiny hands. It was – forgive the repetition – adorable. He spent the remainder of our time at the stall playing with the discarded chopstick wrappers and trying to nosy his way into his mother’s business whilst she moved the gas tanks around and gave customers their breakfasts. Everybody seemed to delight at the sight of him, the way we had.
I’m not sure what exactly it was about Q宝 that made him so endearing. Maybe it’s the way his head seemed too big to fit onto his little body, or perhaps more accurately, it’s how curious and contented he seemed with everything around him. There was no iPad for him to fixate on, there was no obnoxious screaming when his mother took his half-melted bar of chocolate away. He just smiled his toothy little smile and started prodding at the next thing with all the childlike wonder in the world.
I probably won’t see Q宝 until the next time I go back to Taiwan (and god knows when that would be), and even then I might not run into him at the shop anymore. But I hope he never ever loses his appetite for all the little things in life and keeps that little toothy smile for many, many years to come.