“Blue?” “Blau.” My ten-year-old friend is teaching me German as we play the card game Uno.
His eyes are also “blau” and his hair light blonde. His English is only slightly further along than my heretofore-nonexistent German. So I mime. I ham it up, both winning and losing with panache. I shout “Uno!” and wave my final card high over the discard pile — whether or not I can actually play it. I feign desolation when forced to draw again. He laughs.
That was less than a week ago, in Berlin. Today, back in London, I reflect on the eighth anniversary of the birth of our son James. He too came out with fine blonde hair and his eyes, had he ever opened them, would have started out baby blue.