There is a humming sound downstairs. I dress myself in robe and slippers and tip toe down the steps. The woman has removed the embroidered cloth from a small table. She leans over it working at a white machine.
“What is that?” I ask drawing close.
The woman jumps. “Oh! You’re awake!,” she said. “Can’t you sleep?”
I’m always awake, I think. I ask aloud, “What is that?”
“My sewing machine,” she says. “I’m making you a dress for your first day of school.”
She lifts a cornflower blue dress and a cream coloured cotton pinafore printed with yellow flowers and liver-spotted cocker spaniel puppies.
“Do you like it?” she asks. “I dyed Claire’s old yellow dress but there are still spots so I added the pinafore to cover them.” I stoke one of the spaniels. “Do you like the pockets?” she asks.
“Oh yes,” I say and blink away a tear. I glance at the television. “There’s no colour? Is it broken?”
“That’s an old movie. Old movies aren’t in colour.” She smooths the pinafore fabric then tilts her head and asks, “Are you hungry? Would you like some ice cream?”
She goes to the kitchen and returns with two bowls of vanilla ice cream.
We eat and watch in silence. When I finish, the woman takes my bowl and says, “Back to bed with you. But first wash your face and hands and brush your teeth.”