Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ice cream

Think of the advantages. That's what I keep saying to Tiger, when the hard words fall, that the summer in England is that. Summer in England. Autumn return to Hong Kong. She frowns, puts her head down and answers, There is I Scream and that is all.

I Scream. The parlor with the dreadful name and the near-perfect ice cream. I don't say, Yes. There is I Scream and that is all. So we're both silent.

Then I do what I do, every damned time that I stare, lost, into the funeral black. I say, Well, look on the bright side.

I witter on, pointlessly, the usual mumbo jumbo about all the bright sided things. Boat instead of a bus. Butterflies and dragonflies. Bats. Let's think about them. And not the cockroaches or mosquitoes or the fact this isn't home.

She doesn't answer. I know what she means, living somewhere you'd rather not. It's a constant sufferance. A constant daily struggle to stare at bright sides and find the best in everything and because I have to hold all the links in the chain together for fear of everything falling apart, I can't ever give in, drop the lot, kick doors, yell at the walls and say You are right. There is I Scream.

I say, Well, think of the advantages, and look on the bright side.

Because really, what do we want? Me and you, Tiger? We'll go live in England. I can have the responsibilities of a child and you can cuddle horses. It will always be an English summer day with those long, beautiful evenings, and we'll pick strawberries and look out over the fields.

Shark and Squirrel? Complication in my story. They love Hong Kong. Shark is one ball of resentment that she has to leave her beach. Squirrel is all turbulence and unhappiness at leaving behind her stuff, her treasured collections, and all her island freedoms. Tiger? Somehow in this fantasy they can live here with daddy. But you won't be separated from your family because time stands still and places collapse, so you'll see everyone everyday, just like normal, and we can eat ice cream from I Scream.

I can't make promises that I can't keep. I squeeze her hand and I say, let's think of the advantages.