Micro-translation: Frances Ommanney’s Bullet-headed Boy (1962)

Photograph by Dean Barrett, from Images of Hong Kong (1982)

But the one that touched my heart most, for in him I recognized myself forty years ago, was the little one who couldn’t quite keep up, and could not quite manage or do what the others did. He was the youngest and smallest but he was a much pluckier and gamer little boy than I had been when I occupied his humble position. He was a round-faced, bullet-headed little chap who always sat in the middle of the driving-seat of the car, leaning forward with his hands on his knees, gazing intently at the road ahead and singing an endless little crooning song to himself. He was far away in the private world that little boys inhabit and when you spoke to him you had to recall him from a great way off. I remembered, too, those jolts backward from my distant kingdom into the real world. Directly he had answered your question his little spirit fled and was off again on its wings.


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