The morning was peaceful in the way that Sally’s silent presence could never allow. Michael’s head throbbed a little, but it was next to nothing. He felt like he should be ashamed of himself, but instead he felt indifference. He smirked slightly when he remembered Sally’s bitter face seated in front of him at the table last night, but it didn’t give him the expected joy. She was so judgemental, he thought he’d show her just what he could do. But his performance was really rather average. Half a bottle of wine is hardly enough to satisfy the thirst of someone like him. It gave him only a hint of what could be if he succumbed to the cravings. God, if only he could have another drop. What was he quitting for anyway? It sure as hell wasn’t Sally. She wasn’t the girl he married. Ok, so maybe he changed a little himself too, but wasn’t their relationship supposed to mature with age? Like good wine. Bitter, yet sweet wine. Dammit he was thinking about wine again. True, it was morning but he could go to the store right now and buy all the booze he wanted. It was tempting. Very tempting.
“Daddy?” A little creature stood by his bedroom door.
“Hey my little love bug!” Michael smiled, and reached his arms out to her. Immediately the little girl beamed and ran into his arms. Michael held her for a few moments before tickling her. Amy erupted in infectious giggles. Michael glanced at his watch.
“Come on or we’ll be late!”
They dressed quickly and Amy prepared her school books as Michael made breakfast.
“Here you go” He placed scrambled eggs in front of her and watched her eat. He knew if only he could phrase the question correctly he could ask Amy what happened. This was a golden opportunity.
“Amy, sweetie. Do you remember what happened when you got this bandage?” he pointed to her head.
“Mummy took me to the doctors and he fixed it.” Amy smiled at him. Michael couldn’t help but return the smile.
"But do you remember what happened before that? Why did you need to go there?”
Amy took another mouthful of eggs and drank some orange juice, not even lifting the large glass off the table, rather just tipping it into her mouth.
“You feel over daddy, and you smashed your glass, so I ran over to help you and to clean the glass up. Mummy always says it’s very dangerous to have glass on the floor because it can cut you so I picked it all up in my hands and put it in the bin. It hurt my hands a bit. And they started bleeding a little.”
“Amy, that’s because glass is sharp. It can cut you when you pick it up, even if it isn’t on the floor anymore.”
“Oh! Ok!” Amy smiled.
“So what happened then?” Michael asked. “How did you get this bandage?”
Amy made a weird face and shrugged. “I don’t remember.”
“You don’t remember?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Was it me? Did daddy do something to hurt your head?” Michael asked eagerly. Amy laughed.
“Don’t be silly daddy you’d never do anything to hurt me.”
“No, of course not” Michael stuttered, sweat dripping off his brow. He was safe! It wasn’t him!
“Daddy can you brush my hair?” Amy said getting up from the table.
“Of course darling.”
Amy loved getting her hair brushed. She liked it when her mum brushed it- quickly, expertly, forcefully, making blood rush to her head. She liked it when her dad fidgeted gently with knots and tangles desperately avoiding pulling her hair too tightly. She couldn’t enjoy it today. Today she lied. She was a bad girl, a naughty girl. She did remember what happened, but she lied and said she didn’t. Amy’s mummy never let her jump on the furniture, and climb like jungle girl from a comic daddy would read to her. Mummy didn’t even like it when daddy read it to her. When her daddy fell over Amy thought it was the perfect time to climb, and run and jump and roll like jungle girl. She remembered wiping her bloody hands on her face to make war paint marks on her face- just like jungle girl. She jumped from the 5th step to the ground floor, and slid down the banister. She did the wild jungle girl dance on the table, and pretended the chairs were rocks in the middle of the river. She climbed on the kitchen counter to get to the golden tree (the fridge) and get the healing fruit for her hurting monkey. She swung from a vine (the fridge handle) back towards the safety of her table raft. She swam and swam in the rivers- she had to save all the animals from the bad animal-catchers. She jumped on a chair, fell and hit her head. After that the game was no fun anymore. Amy’s head really hurt and dizzily she made her way towards her dad. He wasn’t responding. Amy yelled at him to get up to help her, she thought he died. Amy cowered in a corner and cried until her mum found her. Mummy didn’t ask any questions, and once Amy was back at home and in the safety of knowing daddy wasn’t dead Amy felt quite embarrassed at causing the whole escapade. What’s more she felt scared of getting into trouble. So she didn’t tell anyone what happened. Not even daddy. If daddy found out she was pretending to be jungle girl in the house he’d stop reading jungle girl comics to her. And Amy was not prepared for that to happen.
YOU ARE READING
I Promise To Love You TomorrowHistorical Fiction
Set in the 1950's this story follows the dilemmas of Sally White as she struggles between her child and home, her alcoholic husband and her lover Jack. For years Sally has submissively followed her husbands lead, covering his tracks at every turn in...