“Shall we get flowers for Marmar?” Papa’s big, warm hand clasped mine. Icy blue eyes gazed into my brown ones. My legs beneath my navy coat raised and lowered my black leather Mary Janes in a prancing dance.
I vigourously nodded. A small smile lifted the corners of my mouth as we entered the shop. I pressed my nose and lips against the counter’s glass front as a blond woman in a blue overall spoke with Papa. A pink and gold bow congratulated me: “It’s a girl!”
“What of peonies, Lysse?” he asked holding one fluffy pink stem.
I breathed in its soft, powdery fragrance then looked up at him with a wide smile and nodded again. As Papa turned away, my eyes collided with the attendant hazel gaze.
“What a lovely little miss,” she said.
I pressed against Papa’s leg reaching for his hand and caught hold of the hem of his tweed jacket, “Huh… Huh…” I whimpered. Tears stung my eyes, “Huh… Huh…” I buried my face in his grey flannel trousers, clutched the soft fabric in my small fingers. “Huh… Huh…”
Papa lifted and held me so that our faces were about a foot apart. “Calm yourself,” he said in his Lysse-does-not-behave-this-way voice. The whimpers petered out as he repeated, “Calm yourself.” A hot tear fell onto his lapel. He gathered me close in his arms against his shoulder. My tears ceased.
“She’s tired,” Papa told the attendant then completed ordering. Mouth serious, eyes wide, I peered over his shoulder at her smiling face as he carried me from the shop.