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a woman, the daughter and the father

published: 2013-12-09

A woman is having lunch with her 3-year-old daughter. The woman has cool boots. The daughter wears bright pink snow boots.
It isn’t so cold outside, not really.
The daughter waits for her father, while the woman studies her iPhone. She mutters “hm-mm” now and then, to her daughter. And sometimes she says “shhh” when the daughter’s conversations to herself reach a crescendo.
Mainly, the single sentences the daughter throws out of her mouth are about how she thinks she sees her father, she points at the window: there, and there, and there. When a man enters the restaurant, the daughter complains he’ll probably sit in her father’s seat.
“Hm-mm,” says the woman.
The woman flaunts a short, hipster haircut. She is tall and big in every sense: her cheekbones are large, so is her jaw. Strong, is what one might think.
I create an image of the father: even taller, even bigger, even stronger. Hip, dark-rimmed glasses probably. Or maybe not. A man who is to live with this woman must adore her, wholly and fully. In fact, he’s probably a really nice guy. The kind of guy she should count herself lucky with but doesn’t.
These two big people produced this tiny, whiney child. A spotty little kid with greasy hair. Her chin is small. The corners of her mouth turn downwards, as if transfixed in complaint. She twists and turns on her chair, continues to speak in one-liners.
The father’s taking too long to arrive and so I get up to leave. I ask the woman where she bought her boots. She looks at me with contempt while hesitantly telling me the name of the store. I ask the little girl whether she likes her mother’s boots too. I get no answer, just a squirm.
I buy cigarettes and smoke one while wandering circles on a bridge over an Amsterdam canal. I have forgotten all about the mother, the daughter and the father until I pass their window and notice how they’re watching me.
Dark-rimmed glassed indeed. But balding, I hadn’t expected that. Too old for the look. And the corners of his mouth are turned down. The daughter points at me, presses her finger against the window, “there, and there and there.” I decide not to wave.

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