“I’m fine,” I said whilst smiling up at my father “Let’s go get ice cream! And then we can go to that toy shop!”
He smiled back down at me as I took his outstretched hand and let him lead me towards the ice cream parlour. Later at the toy shop I bought a big white teddy bear with a red ribbon around her neck and decided to call her Alice. Then we went home and my father made dinner. He wasn’t bad at cooking but I really missed the way my mother used to cook her spaghetti bolognaise. My father never really liked Italian food, sticking to making Japanese food because he’s that much of a patriarch.
“Is it good, Anne?” he asked as my mouth was full of the noodles he had prepared for me.
I hummed loudly in satisfaction, my grin hidden by the copious amount of noodles I had stuffed in it. I had to be cheerful for him, get his mind off my mother’s sickness. He always blamed himself and I never understood why? Had he noticed symptoms but never thought to take her to the doctor? Did he cause the sickness? I don’t think I would ever know the root of this guilt he held within him.
Later that night, I clutched onto Alice whilst I dreamed. I love dreams, running around in fields and meeting different and curious characters. But this dream was different. I was in a school, it was dark, it was cold and I was scared. There was a girl in a red dress standing in front of me, about seven years old like I was. She was laughing and pointing at me. Her laugh was enough to scare me to wake up and cry out for my father. But I never saw that girl in my dreams again.