|Article Type:||Short story|
Father-daughter relations (Personal narratives)
Female-male relations (Portrayals)
Female-male relations (Personal narratives)
Childhood (Personal narratives)
|Publication:||Name: Hecate Publisher: Hecate Press Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Women's issues/gender studies Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Hecate Press ISSN: 0311-4198|
|Issue:||Date: May-Nov, 2009 Source Volume: 35 Source Issue: 1-2|
|Topic:||NamedWork: Verification (Short story)|
It was white chocolate, definitely white, of that I am sure. The
painting my father had brought to the art dealer's house was a
water colour. This man was an expert. He was going tell my father if it
was a Turner or not. If it was a Turner the art dealer would buy it, and
my father could pay all the bills that were piling up, unopened behind
the clock on our mantelpiece. My father had taken me along for company,
The house was big and dark and smelled the same as the chocolate. The chocolate had that musty smell, as though it had been opened and left sitting untouched in its wrapper for too long. It was broken into uneven pieces with edges ragged and sharp. He offered it to me on a plate, a white plate, chipped I think. His hands were the hands of an old man, the backs of them shiny and speckled with brown spots. His fingers were bent and wrinkly, fingernails yellow and long. Needed cutting. Mum always cut my fingernails. Usually in the bath.
Would you like a piece? Yes, please--trying so hard to be good. Trying so hard to be polite and thinking of Mum cutting my fingernails in the bath. Leave the little girl with men for a while, he said. Leave her with me.
My father's back was stiff as he walked away, down the hallway, out the front door. The chocolate was hard and stale. It tasted like it smelled--musty. The man's breath was sour and his hands were dry and hard. Did I like school? Yes. Was I good girl. Yes? Could I keep a secret?
Where did my father go? Did he sit in the car and smoke Capstan unfiltered cigarettes? Did he bite his nails? Or did he read the paper and drink a cup of tea from a polystyrene cup.
On the way home my father stopped at a garage and bought me an album for cards with pictures of butterflies, or was it free with the petrol? I was sent to bed early that night. I collected the butterfly cards for years after that. My mother was pleased the man had bought the painting. It was definitely white chocolate. White chocolate, on a plate.
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|