A young girl treads softly across the floor to the bottle-green sofa where a woman hunched, legs up to her chin, lies.
“You’re not my child whatever he may tell you, your wicked, no-good father.”
The young girl runs to the sideboard, prods at the photo: the jet black hair, his nose, eyes—all mirror hers.
“Oh, you’re the spit of him, that’s right.”
“See?” says the girl, triumphant for a moment. “And you’re my mum.”
“No, that’s where you’re wrong,” says the woman on the sofa. “You belong to one of the many sluts he cheated on me with. A daughter of the street, that’s where you’re from. Didn’t you know? They left you in a bin.”
What has happened to this woman to fill her with such venom? Does she hope this vitriolic rant will reach the man who hurt her, by lying to their daughter?
The young girl does not know; such things are far beyond her. She simply tries to keep afloat in a boat that she imagines on the sea of amber carpet beneath her white-socked feet, now twitching, hoping for a breeze to catch the sail—take her far, far away from the body that is screaming from the island of the sofa.
“You’re not my child.”
It was a lie—the young girl knew it, felt it through and through.
Many years later, she wished it had been true.