Friday, 8 July 2016

That Trick with a Wire Coat Hanger

“Is that your dad?” Mel's voice dropped to a whisper as she watched him chopping vegetables in the kitchen. “Is he a chef?”

“A chef?” Chloe followed her gaze as a wave of wafer-thin corgettes all but flew from his knife. “No, not a chef, but he's good with knives. All that side of the family are.”

“Why? Are they circus performers?”

Chloe snorted. “No. Ukranians.”

“Ah.” Mel fell silent as she contemplated the next question in the homework, her pen filling the margins of her exercise book with patterns. “Why do you call him 'Jules?'”

“Because that's his name.” Chloe used a ruler and a green felt-tip to underline her homework. “What do you want me to call him? Sebastian?”

“No, I mean, why do you call him 'Jules' and not 'Dad' or 'Father?'”

“Because he's not the person who donated sperm.”

Mel could have caught flies. “So you've got a real dad somewhere else?”

“No.” Chloe tightened her lips to a thin line. “No. Only a test tube.”

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