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Chapter 7

7

Wednesday 19th September

’Yankel made every effort to prevent Brod from feeling like a stranger, from being aware of their age differences, their genders. He would leave the door open when he urinated (always sitting down, always wiping himself after), and would sometimes spill water on his pants and say, Look, it also happens to me, unaware that it was Brod who spilled water on her pants to comfort him. When Brod fell from a swing in the park, Yankel scraped his own knees against the sandpaper floor of his bathtub and said, I too have fallen. When she started to grow breasts, he pulled up his shirt to reveal his old dropped chest and said, It’s not only you.

This was a world in which she grew and he aged. They made for themselves a sanctuary...a habitat completely unlike the rest of the world. No hateful words were ever spoken, and no hands raised. More than that, no angry words were ever spoken, and nothing was denied. But more than that, no unloving words were ever spoken, and everything was held up as another small piece of proof that it can be this way, it doesn’t have to be that way; if there is no love in the world, we will make a new world.’

These two passages had been copied out with care, in the way that someone who has a lot of time might copy out a passage; with two feet planted flat on the floor, and a straight back. Meticulously crossing every ‘t’, maybe because they are practicing their best handwriting, or maybe because the text was important to them and they wanted to give it the attention it deserves.

Beneath this quote, and beside the doodle of a lily, Julia had written the words, From ‘Everything is Illuminated’, by Jonathan Safran Foer. A beautiful read. I long for my real dad almost as much as I long for an imaginary one like Yankel.

Jamie flicked the page and skimmed over the next few, because he couldn’t see his name anywhere. The entry beneath Monday, 8th October, caught his attention however.

This one was written in a red biro and contrasted the September one because it looked so rushed. The handwriting was more slanted in this entry: spidery and jagged. And it was short.

You wash over me

Devour, Caress, Entrance

I am enthralled by you

And appalled by myself.

There were no more entries after this one, just a series of dried Crocuses, stuck into the little leather book with a capricious and carelessly torn brown tape.

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