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TRACKS — a fiction
Do you remember?
Your train tracks are spread across the living room carpet, weaving in and out of each other like snakes. Do you remember this?
Good. That’s good. You used to play with them for hours. Your father would join in. Or take over. You’d build such wonderful structures together. They would go on and on and on. Around the coffee table, behind the sofa and back out again. They really were wonderful. You remember playing with your dad?
I think that’s just it — dads connect with their children when they play with them. I think the toys are more for them than the child.
You do? Good. That’s good. I was worried this wouldn’t work properly.
Are you sure?
‘Is there anything else?’
Well, I don’t know. Yes. Yes, I suppose there is.
‘How can I help?’
What about when you first went to school?
‘I first went to school on the 5th December 2005.’
Yes! Yes, this is it. Oh, look at you in that outfit. You used to hate the way the collar scratched your neck. You had a very sensitive neck. Used to come out in a rash whenever it got hot. As soon as the sun came out we would get ready with the cream. Had a big pot of it in the kitchen. We had to watch carefully, of course. You wouldn’t always say when the itching started. You were very good like that. Not a complainer. Not at all. No, we had to watch you — really watch — for when you first started to scratch. Do you remember the cream?
‘I will remember it now. Thank you for telling me about it.’
Yes, well, these things can’t be perfect. We’ve just got to do the best with what we have. Mustn’t complain, must we?
‘No. I’m not a complainer.’
No, of course you’re not. Of course. Mustn’t forget. Mustn’t complain. Mustn’t forget.