Many years ago, my dad’s great aunt Virginia lived with her mom, dad, and two siblings in a small village of Cyprus.
The youngest of the children had skipped a grade, while the oldest had been held back. The middle one stayed where she was, which made it so that all three children were in the same grade level at school.
Their family was poor, so the kids were forced to share the same textbooks to cut back on expenses–which at times led to conflict.
One day, Virginia’s sister, Hariglia needed to use the math textbook, but Virginia, who wasn’t done with it, refused to surrender it.
“It’s my turn now!” Hariglia insisted. “Hand it over.”
Virginia did not. And so began a chase around the house.
Virginia rushed into the adjacent room, where her grandma and aunt were chatting over cups of coffee. She scanned the room for hiding spots but didn’t see any.
She did, however, notice the great length and flowiness of the skirt her grandma was wearing.
Plenty of space to move around in, she thought.
And so, with few other options and her sister quick on her heels, Virginia dove to the ground and disappeared under her grandmother’s voluminous skirt.
Seconds later, Hariglia burst in. She looked first under the table, only to find nothing; then behind the curtains, only to find nothing there either.
“Where is Virginia?” she barked.
The two women looked at each other. Their grandma, unable to contain her amusement, burst into laughter.
She laughed so hard that pee rained down onto the head of poor Virginia, who lept out from under the skirt midway through the deluge and threw the book against her startled sister’s chest – disgusted, defeated, and dripping with pee.
“You can have it!” She spat.
Years later, as Virginia’s descendants continue to tell her story, my hope is that readers will reflect on the value of negotiation skills.