Ava is a face licker. This isn’t some extravagant term that carries some double meaning. The eight-year-old licks faces and that’s the tall and short of it. She may have been born with the annoying habit, but her mother can’t vouch for it. At the age of two, the brown-haired girl started with her mother’s cheeks and her father’s forehead. It was an infrequent act that escalated into an hourly undertaking.
At first, Ava’s parents had found it cute and silly, laughing every time Ava’s small, pink tongue left a trail of saliva on their faces. But when the girl wouldn’t stop with the licks, parental sternness confronted the little girl’s weirdness. And it wasn’t a pretty scene. There was crying and swearing, and crazed bouts of hairpulling. No not Ava, but her parents exhibited the bizarre behavior.
The young girl simply gawked with her hazel eyes and when things seemed to settle, she would slurp the sides of her parents’ disgruntled faces. There was nothing Ava’s mother or father could do to deter her. And Ava’s absurd habit soon widened its scope of licking. Close relatives and friends became easy targets. Their stays and visits were accompanied by a sticky moistness which either smelled like peppermint or unemptied garbage. It all depended on the time of day and Ava’s last meal.
Some smiled, a few cringed, and the rest simply went quiet. They had never encountered a face lick from another human. Such conduct was only befitting of pets or kinky courtships. But Ava was unaware of this and made sure her tongue visited different facial landscapes.
Ava is now in the third grade and has only one friend. A boy who doesn’t mind having his cheek licked on a regular basis. Some may brand him a loner or a cheap thrill-seeking rascal. But for Ava he’s the only one who doesn’t look at her with contempt and wipe his sticky face with his hand after.
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