How to be a good person

172. 8pm. Bottom deck, in the middle of the back row.

A man and his small daughter made their way to the back of the bus. He was mixed-race, Afro-Caribbean and white. She was more white than he was, and had expansive, frizzy, dark blonde hair. She was wearing a pink jacket and a plastic Minnie Mouse head-band. I guessed that they had been to a party together and were now on their way home.

They were very sweet with each other, but their conversation was extraordinarily factual. They were like two researchers on an expedition. Here are some of the notes they swapped:

1. Father to daughter: How to be a good person

  • Say please and thank you
  • Tidy up after yourself
  • Share with your friends
  • Tie your shoelaces

2. Father to daughter: The plan for the coming few days

  • Tomorrow you’ll stay at my house
  • Then my house again
  • Then your mum’s the next day, does that make sense?

3. Daughter to father: This is how you draw bunny ears

  • (holds up the Minnie Mouse head-band, with a confident expression that brooks no disagreement)
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