At the risk of giving away our exact location I will tell you that, two floors below us, there lives a prince.
He is quite debonair in his pastel cashmere sweaters, carefully combed-back silver hair, as he walks his small dog about the neighborhood. He occupies one entire floor with his much younger wife and their elementary school age daughter. There is an excessively large brass plaque on the landing outside their door and they have an entire brass panel of bells to ring downstairs outside the main door, one for himself, the Prince, another for the Princess, and one for each of the various associations he purports to head (knights of this, noblemen of that, etc.).
This morning as we headed down the stairs to school, the boys ran into the Prince on his landing.
I could hear the brief exchange from the floor above, but my six-year-old recounted it to me in his booming voice just outside the Prince’s door when I caught up with them.
“We saw The Little Prince. He said ciao.”
That my son calls this man The Little Prince pleases me to no end. Clearly it’s because we have been talking about the book, but it so perfectly captures the dubious title of this odd neighbor of ours that a snort of laughter escapes me whenever he says it.
And even six doubts the authenticity of the Prince’s title. He is too clever for a ruse like that! When we got downstairs today, six asked in that way he does, when a thought has just occurred to him, “Did he actually change his name? Do you think it says “prince” on his passport?”