Thursday, June 18, 2015

"Wouldn’t it be nice if our daughter could wear the same clothes that we or our family, used to?”

  (Small Fry Chapter 8)

          Then he said quietly, "So you’re up here, reading in the cold and dust, to get away from the husband who is acting anything but helpful?”
          “Uh huh.”
          Next, I heard him take a couple of steps away, but still I wouldn't look up.  I thought he was about to climb back down the ladder, but he didn’t.  Instead, his footsteps crossed over to the boxes in the corner, as he proceeded to unstack them.  Eventually, I glanced upwards to see him open one and pull out a couple of baby jumpsuits and even an old toy.
          “You remember this, B?”  He held up the worn and faded, stuffed dog. 
          I sat up straighter in surprise, “Didn’t that used to be Derik’s?”
          “Yup.” 
          He tossed the toy over which I put the diary down to catch.
          “Hey, this is Frisbee!”  My voice rose in excitement, as I examined it.  “This ‘Pound Puppy’ was Derik’s favourite toy.  Whenever he slept over or I had sleepovers at your place; I remember he'd curl up with it.”
          “Ready for another old friend?”  Declan called.
          Then he tossed over an old, stuffed rabbit.  I put Frisbee in my lap along with the diary, to catch it next.  This time it was a ‘Bugs Bunny’ doll, with long, floppy, grey ears.  It still had the pull ring in its side, which I couldn’t help but to give it a gentle tug.
          “Hee hee, you’re a cute bunny!”  Bugs Bunny’s voice, chuckled.
          “It still works!”  I laughed aloud.
          “Do you remember his name?”  He smiled on.
          I pulled a face for asking such a stupid question.  “Bugs Bunny, but wasn’t he your toy?”
          “Uh huh," he gave a nod, "my Dad bought him when Mom became pregnant with me.  She told him that she was expecting and Dad was so ecstatic, he came home from work the next day with Bugs.  It was one of the few toys they brought when we came to Alaska to live, after the War.”
          Next, I watched Declan round up his and Derik’s old baby clothes from the box he'd opened.  Then he walked over to the other boxes I was sitting near, to open them.  He found more baby clothes to add to our collection.
          “I’m going to give these a wash and see how they turn out."  He advised.  Then he added on, "Wouldn’t it be nice if our daughter could wear the same clothes that we or our family, used to?”
          Then he loaded his large arms with the tiny clothing and made a move towards the ladder.
          He started to disappear down the attic hatch as he carried out his plan.  But before he completely vanished, he left his parting words, "If you take that diary down to read by the fire, you might find a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows waiting for you.  Hell, you may even find a plate of celery sticks and cream cheese, too.”
          I laughed aloud at his mood swing.  But I was also touched that this was his way of apologizing.  I wondered if my words about Flint Riverclaw kicked him into gear?

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