- Vol. 08
- Chapter 02
Papa is in position. He is a tiny figure now in the green pod of the winged armchair, rheumy onyx eyes dead in his face, hands writhing like dying spiders on the wire of his thighs. His sluggy tongue pushes in and out, wetting his lips; he is ready.
He likes me to start on the front page, the Big News, and once I have covered the mild shake of an earth tremor and the faux pas of a politician, butterfly-like, I alight on the small, less significant section, bottom right, barely a beat between breaths.
His knuckles roll like pebbles under his skin as, too late, I am sliding into the story without buffers. A young girl has returned to the village where she was found beneath a tree as an abandoned baby. She is looking for her mother.
I feel the words ‘determined’ and ‘will never give up’ crawl up my spine like an army of ants, and jostle in my skull for space.
Seventeen years ago, the story was tattooed on every paper. Papa had a lot to say then about girls who got themselves into trouble.
My pillow is still spiky with journalistic wordplay after all these years. My heart a bird with a broken wing.
I tell him it’s time to go and touch his cheek with mine.
I drop on to a bench, heavier than I have ever been. The weight has been drawn to my fingertips. I release my grip on the paper. The print is smudged.
And then I have swallowed the sun. My veins glow and each crystal cracks in my blue heart. My arms will be a bridge to my daughter.
He will hear of it, my father. Her father. If they read to the incarcerated. The story will make the front page.
I wonder if he’ll enjoy that.