Right. Here’s the thing. Over at bekindrewrite, Steph’s given us another crop of fantastic prompts, including the two in the title of this post. Between them, they prompted me to write this little snippet from Melanie’s story, but I hope it’s within the rules – neither prompt actually appears in the story as such. Fork almost did in the first line, but it didn’t feel like a word Mel would actually use.
I hope you’ll forgive me. And I hope you enjoy the story. For those who are interested, other snippet of Mel’s life can be found by putting her name in the search box.
“There comes a time when a girl grows up, Dad,” said Melanie, looking up from her knickerbocker glory, and emphasising that last word that she was suddenly far too old to end with a ‘y’. “You’ve got to learn to let go.”
I nodded. Even at seven, she was wiser than me. I was still clinging to her mother in the same way, desperate that Susan wouldn’t leave me to take care of our little sage alone.
But Melanie wasn’t finished with me yet. “I’m a big girl now. I go to big school and have homework and a briefcase…” It was more of a satchel, but I didn’t dare interrupt. “… and Miss Purley says she is going to make me the Door Monitor. What do you think about that?”
“Wow,” I said. “Door Monitor.”
“Are you being sardastic? You know Mummy doesn’t like it when you’re sardastic to me.”
“Sarcastic,” I corrected her, almost automatically. “But no, actually, I wasn’t. Door monitor sounds like a big responsibility. What does it involve?”
“Opening the door.” Her withering look was the exact replica of Susan’s. I had to look away.
“Wow. Big girl school, big girl responsibilities. Soon you’ll be learning to drive and leaving your old Dad to fend for himself.” I could already picture it: I just wasn’t sure where Susan was in the picture – standing beside me, hunched in a wheelchair, or only a memory in our minds.
Melanie was already out of her chair and tucked in beside me, nudging my arm out of the way so she could get in closer. She liked to feel my beating heart. “I won’t ever leave you,” she whispered. Then, because she knew I wanted it so much, she gave in. “Daddy.”