92. You

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And when I'm holding you
What a feeling
Seems too good to be true
That I'm telling you all
That I must be dreaming


'What's going on?'

'I'm buggered if I know.'

'Five minutes he said. That was half an hour ago.'

'If there's one thing I've learned, it's not to question.'

'Yes, but seriously...'

'I am being serious, Minnie. Don't ask him, don't question him. It makes him worse. Makes him even more uptight.'

'Yesterday, he spent half the afternoon tapping the wall, looking for hidden microphones.'

'Oh.'

'Oh? So that's not unusual?'

'No, no, it is. That is unusual. He usually thinks the microphones are in his head.'

Minnie laughs and the tape goes quiet.

Bobbie looks round when she hears her laugh. She can't see what she's looking for, so she looks up at me and blinks her chocolate brown eyes, puzzled. She's on the floor, at my feet, with her stuffed rabbit and some other toys I brought in her to keep her occupied while I did this. She was only seven months old when Minnie died. I wouldn't have believed she'd remember anything about her. Maybe she doesn't properly, but there is recognition in her expression. A memory.

There doesn't appear to be much else on this tape. There's some background movement. A door opens in the distance with a creak and then someone - not Minnie - closer to the microphone says, 'Hey, Stan, did you know the tape was still running?' and it cuts. I press the button to stop the machine.

'Come on, Bobs,' I say, standing to scoop her and Bun-Bun up. 'Let's get out of here.'

*

'You should get her one of those... things. You know, the thingies.'

I raise an eyebrow at him and shake my head. 'No. What "thingies"?'

Everyone has a theory about this. They all have advice and tips to offer, whether they have children of their own or not, but it's never any help. I've tried everything. Everything they say to do in the books. Every old wives tale trotted out to me by well-meaning friends and relatives. I've bargained, bullied, bribed and coaxed her, and Bobbie still doesn't want to walk.

'The things they push around,' John says, from the other side of the table. He mimes pushing and pulling something, with a handle, like a pram or--

'A lawnmower?'

'No! A... A thingie! Julian had one when he was a baby. It was a wooden tray on wheels, which he kept, uh, building bricks and stuff in, and it had a tall, red handle that he'd push it around with. That's what got him walking.'

Yoko bristles at John's comment, but says nothing. I don't know why. What could be so offensive about that? She's sitting uncomfortably close to John at the long, carved wood table in the kitchen of Tittenhurst Park, clinging to him with her arm looped through his, even though he's holding a mug of tea in that hand. John must feel something, because he turns to look at her.

'What do you think, love?' he asks, a little strained. 'How old was Kyoko when she started walking?'

'Babies will walk when babies are ready to walk,' Yoko replies, ignoring the question.

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