Monday, January 19, 2009
Watching the Baby
Lucy screamed as only a three-month old baby can. Jasfoup checked his pocket watch. It was an hour before Julie and Harold were due home and he’d been left – literally – holding the baby. He picked her up for the third time and checked her nappy.
“All right,” he said. “You’re not hungry, you’re not thirsty, your nappy’s dry and you’re not teething. “What is the matter with you, girl? Missing your dad?” He chucked her under the skin with a claw. Lucy cried and clung to his finger. A shaft of sunlight through the window caught his timepiece and spackled the wall. Lucy stopped crying and made a grab for it.
Jasfoup raised an eyebrow. “You want my watch?” he said. “If it stops you crying, here.” He unthreaded the watch from his waistcoat and pressed it into her hands. “You play with that while I make some tea.” He watched her with it for a moment before filling the kettle, looking out of the window as it boiled.
Winter turned to spring, spring to summer. He turned to see Lucy grow into a toddler, a child, a teenager. He watched as puppy fat turned to muscle, clumsiness to grace.
Jasfoup rubbed his eyes and took his watch back, huffing a sigh of relief as Lucy returned to her normal age. Harold would not have been pleased to miss out on his daughter’s childhood. He smiled and polished the glass with his sleeve – time just slipped away if you weren’t careful.