Little red riding hood

My daughter has her father’s eyes. She has my skin and mouth and hair, but somehow those large, light blue eyes, unusually round, negate all of that and there’s only him when I look at her.

Most mornings those eyes follow me as we breakfast. Occasionally she glances back to the cartoons as she raises a spoon of breakfast cereal mush to her ruby lips. I wonder if she watches me for any tremor in my expression? What does she sense or know? She is four and a half. In the next few weeks I will have to tell her how our lives are about to change. Soon I will feel the child in my belly move. Soon I’ll get married.

 I tweak her red ribbon to signal we should leave and I brush milk from her lips. We’re off for a day at the zoo. I’ve promised her a ride on the elephant this time. She tells me she won’t be frightened.

I have her coat in my arms and she reaches for it. It was a gift from those she has called Nanna and Papa but who aren’t her grandparents. She loves it so much. Loves them so much. She puts it on and waits for me to button her up. She runs her finger and thumb down the buttonhole strip enjoying its scratchy woollen outside and silky ribbon inside. She mouths words to herself. “Little Red Riding Hood” she whispers. I meet her eyes. “Nanna says I look like her Little Red Riding Hood”. I nod and smile and hope for an early Summer.

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