Friday, December 30, 2011

Steps, Parts 1, 2 and Threee

Party 1

"Why granny dies?" said the baby.

"Step-granny, sweetie," said Haylie, "she's not your real grandmother. She's just a step granny."

Sweetie was confused. "Ms. Elaine said that it's grandma if she is your mommy's mommy," he told her. "Or daddy's mommy," he added, after some consideration.

"Oh, Aaron," she said, picking him up to her lap and hugging him. She had named him after her father, who had passed on just five months before he was born. "Well, you got it right there, clever little guy." Aaron smiled happily at being called clever by his mommy. "But in this case, it's just a little bit different."

"Why?" said the child.

"Well," she said, holding him close to her, "you see, your granny -- I mean, step-granny -- she was not really my mommy. Not mommy's real mommy."

This revelation confounded him. "Then how did you come out?"

"Come out?"

"Into the world?" he demanded.

She stroked his soft brown hair, not at first sure how she could -- or if she should -- explain it to him. "Well," she said, "it's a very long story, sweetie."

Aaron laid his head back upon her. This was him 'settling in', as she liked to think of it. "I got a lot of time," he said, turning his face into her breast, and he closed his eyes so that she could begin the story.


It was a long time ago. I was only a very little girl, a child like you, when Alice -- your step-granny -- came to live with us. Everything changed when she came. It wasn't the same any more as before. I remember, daddy -- your grandaddy Aaron -- he changed too, from then on. It was so long ago, but I still remember that he changed then. He wasn't like before any more. Nothing was the same after Alice came to stay with us.

You see, before that, I was the light of my daddy's life. I still remember, as soon as he came home, he'd take me, pick me up, and sit down and talk to me. Even on the days when he was really tired, he'd never forget to collect me and have our daily talk.

Party 2

He always wore brown, you know? At least that's what I remember. There was all this...grime...on his suit, and I always liked to touch it -- touch the grime -- because I knew he would then playfully slap my fingers away and then find a tissue, or a wipe or something, and clean them carefully. He'd say that I had to be careful, and that there are loads of bad germs in this world that want to infect me. He always said I have to be careful with myself, and always notice all the things that are present around me. But he would say it with such wonder to me, such happiness. If you ever looked into his eyes, you would know that you were absolutely loved.

And we would talk. That was always important to him, for us. Strange thing is, I guess I must have been the one doing all the talking, because I remember so very little, so little of what he said. I don't even remember what he worked as, you know, what he did for a living. But he always wanted to know everything I'd done during the day. Maybe the reason I remember so little is that the most important things to me, at that time, were all his questions. I remember his questions. Maybe they're not the exact questions he asked, but I remember their shapes, and what they felt like.

They were questions about me. About how I was doing in the world. And you could tell they were important, just by his voice when he asked them. He wanted to know what was going on in my mind, what I was up to all those hours when he had to go away to work. I remember, at first I had not really understood how important these things were to him. But towards the end, I knew. I knew how important the routine was to both him, and me. How it bonded us, father and daughter. Later, when I was around ten or eleven, I realized it was how he made sure I would eat. That was his 'trick' to get me to eat the food he was giving me. He'd play with me and joke with me, coddle me, and then gently slip the spoon in. And it would always taste grand.

There was only one time I ever saw him look sad, and it was, if I remember correctly, just a short while before Alice came to live with us. He'd asked what I'd learned about today, and when I told him I knew about doctors, he teared up. He kissed me and told me that he was going to do everything possible to make my dreams come true. And I noticed the spoon that day, in his hand, trembled a little, and when I asked him, he just said he'll take care of it, and tucked me a little promptly into bed.

Party 3

"Check inside the drawers of your boss's files," he typed. "You will find something amazing there."

"I can't do something that violating," she typed back, "that would just be wrong." She did a double-take, and noticed a small infraction in the user interface window element. It made her take a deep breath. "Wait," she said, "who are you?"

"Your baby," he typed back.

She rolled her eyes, and sat back in the chair. "Lol", she typed, "for a minute there, I thought you were, actually, my baby! Fool."

"Looks like you forgot your nanny-cam," he typed back at her.

"No," she typed furiously.

"Not that hard to switch to it," he typed, teasing. "Flick of the mouse."

It was the slowest millennia recorded. Last time this much effort was taken to switch to nanny-cam was when Vesuvius decided to romp Pompeii. But...she made this shift in perspective.

There he was, a baby, typing away.

"Hi," he wrote.

"I never gave you a computer!" she screamed.

"Check the files in your boss's work area. There is information there about you."

For about five minutes, she just stared at the nanny-cam, wondering how the hell he was managing to communicate without any official computer system at his disposal.

And he was doing it in his nappies!

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