By Creative Writing Editor- Anna Royle
He gives me a lemonade with a slice of lime in it, and a black straw. He reminds me of the time when I was six and called black straws “sophisticated.” He had cut the lime directly on the counter, the knife and remnants still lying on the laminate.
The black leather sofa reminds me of the empty back room in my house. Mum’s house. I bite my tongue.
“Do those cushions look okay?” He asks as he sees me staring.
Once again the Ikea labels ruin the look.
“Yeah. They’re nice.”
“What colour are they?”
“Like a bluey green.”
Dad had relied on Mum for the past twenty-five years to tell him the colour of everything. One time she’d washed his grey work trousers with a red top. She didn’t tell him and he went to work with pink trousers.
While he’s getting dinner ready I look around, admiring his silver mirrored guitar as if I hadn’t seen it sitting in the corner of our back room for my entire life. It now has pride of place below the TV.
Dinner is nice. He even made creme brûlée for desert. I fight back my laughter when he whips out a mini blow torch to brown the top.
“See? Your old Da can cook after all.”
I can’t wait to tell Mum. One time he tried making a steak sandwich recipe he’d seen on TV but he burnt the bread and added too much butter to the steak.
I fetch the blanket from the balcony.
“Where does this go?”
“It’s okay just leave it.”
I go to put it down by the arm of the sofa but hover when I see, hidden under the side table, a pair of cream fluffy slippers, size four.
Of course, I knew of her existence. She was the reason Dad was here and therefore I was here right now. Maybe it’s how he’d attempted to stop me seeing them. I wonder if he’d moved other things of hers in preparation for me coming. But would I rather he’d just kept them sitting by the door? Surely she would’ve seen
the colour of the cushions and she would’ve told him that they were a bluey green and they looked okay? Was he getting a second opinion? Was it all an act to make me feel more comfortable, more needed?
The sea air hits my cheeks as I escape down the three flights of stairs to the car park below. Dad calls my name.
“What the hell?! Are you okay?”
I can’t explain this to him right now. I drive home.