Saturday, December 3, 2011

Diary extract No 32

Here, now. Do you remember the Christmas you saw Antarctica? I can remember Papa lifting me up against the bow, pointing my finger to the large bit of ice and his warm breath whispering in my frozen ears: There now. You've seen them all. The closer we came, the more I began to understand the sound of the Captain's awe when he spoke of it. The storm from the night before--the one that had forced us to keep our distance--had faded and left behind thousands of miles of polished blue ice, dusted with windswept snowflakes. Transfixed, I would have keeled over the edge had Papa not tugged me back to the deck, laughter like golden syrup, light and thick. We all have our own white south, he murmured later that night to the Captain who had known him since he was a tow-headed tiny boy who ran about barefooted and climbed the cliffs by the sea.

Papa smiles with his eyes, now, if I remind him. (Happy is like oranges, he explained to me once, oranges and candles.) His eyes twinkle and he glances over to Maman and she smiles for him, warm and wide. Cold winds are coming, you see, and wind is only wicked in the wintertime. We will need all the warmth our smiles can give. The floorboards are like ice, turning my toes blue. I would be wearing wool stockings, but I've forgotten to pack any and Cee won't share hers and Clio never gets cold, so. Do you remember the other Christmases? I can remember: winter icecream and the kind of cold that falls from the sky and sticks to fingertips, 11:17 in the middle of the night, the North Polar Bear and Paksu and Valkotukka, paper Christmas crown tangled in my hair and giggling at silly jokes, making igloos out of sugar cubes and pink frosting and sitting with a cup of cocoa and the radiator that looks after my toes. (I can remember looking across the ice and thinking I could see ghosts skating.) 

PS. No longer Storybook Endings, but Pocket Diaries.