The child sitting next to us on the metro looked like a puffy ball of pink cotton candy.
Sitting on her grandmother's lap, the child was wearing a bright pink down jacket and matching pink pants both dotted with Teletubbies. The kid's socks were electric yellow and beneath her pink winter coat was a knit sweater in pastoral pink.
The little girl looked to be about 18-months old. Beneath each of her small eyes was a thick, shadowy line of makeup -- eyeliner, I think. Sitting on the lap of her bindied grandmother on the crowded metro train, the little girl kept clutching at my arm with her little hand.
I smiled back at the girl and waved cartoonishly. Then I looked at the little pink harlequin's grandmother and said, "She's a very pretty little girl."
Grandma smiled and shook her head. "He is not a she. This is my grandson."
I laughed uncomfortably and turned my back on the he-she child and its grandmother. Making sure that the old woman and her strangely-dressed grandchild couldn't read my lips or hear our conversation, Aliyah and I whispered quickly.
"I thought it was a girl, too," Aliyah said. "It's an honest mistake."
"There's no mistake on my part," I whispered furiously, only barely noticing a woman standing over Aliyah's shoulder eavesdropping on our conversation. "They dressed that boy in all pink and put makeup on him. They're the ones who made a mistake."
Smirking at me, the eavesdropper then reached across Aliyah and I and took the cross-dressed child off its grandmothers lap and held it as only a mother can.