Chapter 20 – My father is back (New York)
Things I almost remember,
And a song someone sings,
Once upon a December.
While I sing and hum the song alternately, I dance around my room without being able to avoid it. My hands put the quilt back in place, the books neatly arranged on the table, and the decorations on my shelves. The exams are over and in a while I’m meeting Moose in the university gardens for a long walk that, I hope, will end up at Tyler’s house. Taking advantage of the fact that he’s on tour now and has given me a copy of his keys for ‘when I need them’―what more can I ask for?
I admit―since New Year’s we have hardly had any chance to be alone again in our ‘private setting’, as we call it, but a tingle that I haven’t felt in years is biting my insides again, giving me shivers of pleasure just to remember his hands holding my waist, my fingers running around the curves of his back, his tongue searching for mine in desperation…
I sigh without wanting to, while I notice how my cheeks start to burn and I try to calm down. I look at the clock. I’m ten minutes ahead of time, but I’m coming down now. I have to go through the residence hall gate.
Incidentally, as soon as I get there, the doorman strangely looks at me, as if he wasn’t surprised to see me while whispering over the phone that he has rested on his ear a ‘yes, she’s here…’. Without explanation, he hands me the phone and I tense up. What just happened? But when I force myself to utter a soft ‘yes, who is it?’ the hoarse voice I hear on the other side leaves me stuck in place. Because it’s been about 12 years since I’ve heard it.
It’s my father.
* * *
Even in the cold, New York is a beautiful city. It has been several days since the last snowfall disappeared, fortunately, and now, after finishing the exams, the sun is shining and you can walk around almost without a coat. Slowly, I close my eyes, lie down on the tree behind me, and breathe in through my nose. Spring is coming and something tells me―I don’t know if it’s that pink cloud I’ve been wrapped in since New Year’s, maybe it is―that this year I’ll be able to achieve everything I set my mind to.
A few steps that come close break my idyllic concentration, and I smile as I see that Camille already arrived. However, although she tries to hide it with a smile, she is pale as a ghost and her eyes tell me that something is not quite right. So as soon as I get up I am not surprised that she immediately takes refuge in my arms. Slowly, I wrap her in my sweatshirt with all the love I feel for her and wait for her to decide to explain what has happened. My body is tight as a drumhead, but I force myself to bite my tongue and say nothing. My fingers rhythmically comb her hair, trying to calm her down. But most alarming of all, she doesn’t even cry.
When she sighs then and turns away from me, I almost fear to face her brown eyes full of sadness.
“Cam… what happened? What’s wrong?”
No, I’m not able to contain my anxiety any longer. I don’t like to see her suffer; mainly because I think she has had enough beats in her short life to keep adding to it. But nothing prepares me for her next words.
“It’s my father,” she admits. “He found me.”