He looked so young, shiny-skinned and handsome. I had never thought of him being that. He looked directly at the camera with his lips poised as if he had just spoken. Were they soothing words to the child in his arms? His square, clean hands and strong arms within the blue jumper, clasping her to him. His head tilted towards hers as perhaps he drew her attention to the camera.
How much time were they able to spend together then?
A smile played on her lips. Tentatively happy. Her short, brown hair framed her round face. Her plump torso encased in a white jumper. Tiny hand resting on her tartan skirt, just touching his finger. A hint of her white underpants.
Father and daughter. My father and me. Had my mother been with us or were we alone? Perhaps we’d come in his truck, with me holding onto him as he drove? I remember his big blue truck, the smell of the cabin and the sticky feel of the seats against my legs. But the truck had remained with us til much later. Til we all lived in the house he painted green.
Before that, just my mother and me in our flat. I remembered sitting on my mother’s big bed. Looking out over the water, I saw the man in the moon on his bed looking back at me. On the steps up to the door I watched my right foot take every step and wait for the left foot to catch up. There was a man there. A shadow. But it was not him, not my father.
In the house painted green my mother’s belly was swollen with her child. “Daddy will fix it”. Daddy and me and Mummy waiting for the new baby.
How long did I have to wait to answer the big black phone in the hall. When Daddy said ‘You have a brother!’ and I wondered ‘What was a brother?’