Tickets - Novella - Chapter 9b

    "So you're still refusing to come?"  Definitely going to be fine, because daddy is quick to back up to the counter again, so that mummy doesn't see anything, as she walks over to take you to get your dress on.  "It's not much to ask that you come to your own daughter's christening, but if that's how you want it to be remembered." Now slide over to the drawer and it might be possible to get them in there, since you have two hands again.  "Only butter?  No jam?  It'll have to do.  I don't have time for anything, really."  But as soon as your hands reach the cargo, she turns round again.  Always watching.  "Aren't you eating?  I can't eat all this by myself."  No choice, slide over, grab a piece and back to the drawer to eat.  "What's wrong with you?  Why are you all the way over there?"  Strange staring match: suspicion against flippancy; suspicion seems to be winning.  And moving closer.  "What is it?  Why are you protecting that drawer?"  And pushing flippancy out of the way, dangerously close to dislodging all the carefully protected pieces, but the drawer distracts from that calamity and fear.  "What's in here that you don't want me to see?"  It's not in there.  Oh wait.  But there is.  Under that car magazine: yes, well done, you found it.  "What are these doing here?  I thought you threw them out.  And the prospectus?  Why do you have Hen's prospectus, still?  What is this card?  Did you draw that?  Was it for me?  For valentines?  Well, the one you got me was much better, so it's a good think you didn't give me this one.  It doesn't even make sense.  What have pirates got to do with Valentine ’s Day?  Why do you have all these in your drawer?"  She hasn't connected them together.  But she still needs an explanation.  It's so hard to think with the baby crying and the mother going crazy.
    Think.  What can be said?  Better to let her think of her own reasons, maybe.  Can't be worse than the truth.  But she might be looking for more reasons to be angry.  Or to guilt trip and force a presence at the christening.  It isn't too late for that.  At this point it would take the heat off the drawer and end a lot of arguments in the house.  After all, it would be supportive.  For Alice.  But that's the point.  This isn't for Alice.  It's for everyone else to feel better about themselves, as if they've protected her from some horrible thing.  But the whole point is that they can't protect her.  It's not up to them.  Alice doesn't even know what's going on.  What if, years later, she decides she doesn't want anything to do with this?  She doesn't have a choice.  She has to see that she always does.  That’s her father's job.  "It's nothing.  Just some things I shoved in a drawer.  I don't know why."
    "There has to be a reason."  Does there?  Actually, even though there is, it's still unclear why.  Why not throw them all away?  Why keep them?  Why is it somehow comforting to have them in that drawer?  Just knowing they're there.
    "Don't you need to leave?"  Distracting and to the point.  Angie doesn't like it, but it's the truth.  Alice isn't dressed yet and they should have left already.  She still takes a moment to finish staring.
    "Yes.  And I haven't finished my make up, so you'll have to get her dressed.  Quickly."  Angie moves off, but notices she isn't followed by the man whose arms she shoved the baby into.  "Please."  So please her and pretend to move until she's out of sight.  Good, and one hand will have to do.  Safe in the drawer now.  Just for a short time; can't have them found later.
    Dressing a baby in dresses and frilly pants and tiny socks is difficult enough, but adding extra length and layers to make a white monstrosity is just cruel to fathers.  It's your own fault for making the breakfast excuse in the first place.  But seriously, how many wrong holes can you put a tiny fist through?
    "What are you doing?  Why is she not dressed yet?  Oh, you've upset her and I'll have to sit through mass and stand in front of everyone all alone with a crying baby.  As if I needed any more embarrassment."  She wasn't upset until you came in screaming.  "There.  Done.  Easy."  Jeez, how'd you do that?  "You know, even if Alice doesn't thank me for doing this for her today, at least I know I've done the right thing.  Will you?"  It's cold in here suddenly.  Left alone to stand in pathetic underwear.  What is the right thing?  To go with beliefs or traditions or religions?  Even if they're not your own and you don't have a clue why people follow them.  Doesn't everyone just do what they want?  And then decide if it's right from logic and circumstances?  But sometimes there's a feeling in the pit of your stomach that challenges all that.  What do people do about that?  Is that when they fall back on their religion to justify one action over another?  Well, that feeling isn't there to change this decision.  There's no need to justify standing by what you've always thought, or to pretend it's OK to fake something else just to make other people feel better.  No.  There's no qualms about this one.
    "We're going.  Get your own lunch."  It's OK Alice.  It won't be that bad.  Just a bit of water.  "And we'll talk about the drawer when I get back."  So she hadn't forgotten.  She seemed so casual walking down the stairs and out.  Just that final snap before she closed the door.  We'll talk about it then, will we?  Won't you be distracted by the christening events of the day?

    What's that?  When did that come through the door?  Penzance. 1.4.14.  So she hadn't forgotten.