by ofthewedge

I was late getting home. Our eldest was under a blanket,  glowering and saturnine, watching My Little Pony. Her mother had just tried unsuccessfully to interest her in a late supper. The little girl was in the danger zone, past bedtime on a school night. She could no longer tolerate contradiction of her whimsies, growing in erraticism with every minute, any opposition sent her into meltdown.

I lifted her up in my arms, escorted her up the stairs. She said she wanted a bath, but I refused, the day was over, I said.

Baaath, baaath, baaath, baaath, she intoned endlessly with tears on her face. It was like a delirious dirge.

-Please stop saying bath.

Eventually a brush of the teeth and a book teleported her back to civilisation. She was still fighting the inevitable except now without being socially offensive.

-Shall I say goodnight and go now?

-No I want you to stay


-Because I like you.

She shuffled awkwardly the pages of a pocket book of puzzles and colouring opportunities that she had taken from her bedside table.

-You look at all the pages. Go on. All the pages.

Her speech was slurring.

-What do you mean?

-All the pages. … Let’s just close our eyes.

-You have brown eyes. Darker than mine. Daddy’s are green brown.

She fixed on a spot on my chin.

-You got glitter. You want the glitter?

-Er no…. Daddy loves you, my darling.

Eyes closed, deep breathing. She was gone.

-Daddy loves you very much. So much.

Her smooth, delicate, silent face. When she finally falls asleep each night, it is like part of the world has died.