Soft snow was falling over me and inside I was so very cold. But I liked it. I liked catching the flakes on my tongue, icy flakes that melted in my mouth so that I could drink the cold.
‘Darling, why are you crying?’ My mummy’s voice broke through.
‘I’m not mummy.’
‘Emmy, I can see your tears.’ Mummy wiped my cheeks with her lace hanky.
‘It’s just snow melting on my face.’
Mummy put her arms around me and squeezed hard. ‘Were you frightened of that man? It’s alright now. The policemen have taken him away.’
I was not frightened and I didn’t want to think of the man being dragged from me. They said he tried to grab me.
‘It’s alright to feel frightened. But you’re safe now, and we’re going home.’ She reached down again. I walked on faster and I could hear her heels hitting the wet pavement as she tried to catch up. Tap, tap, tap.
‘Wait Emmy. You know it’s dangerous to walk on your own with so many people.’
The people made me feel safe. I just didn’t want her touching me and I didn’t want to go home.
It was then I felt sad, and I did cry. I squeezed the hanky in my coat pocket and felt better. It had been a present from my dad last Christmas. I’d watched the little envelope push through the letterbox on Christmas Eve. There was a card inside, and inside that was the pretty pink hanky.
I must have slowed down because mummy grabbed my hand hard.
‘You keep with me my girl.’ Now we were away from people she could be mean to me.
I didn’t care. I had seen the man’s face and felt his scraggy whiskers on my cheek. I had looked into his eyes, had seen the look of love, and the sadness. I knew that the man was my daddy and that he wanted to be with me.