Chapter 1 : The Happy Face
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Adults lie. My brother told me that, but I never really believed him (because he tells lots of fibs) until I started to see. I think I started to see properly when it was my daddy’s birthday. It was April Fools Day, which Fred says is the day big brothers get to push little sisters in the mud.
I think that is another one of his fibs because always he pushes me anyway – even if it isn’t April Fools Day!
Daddy has a smiley face. He has a hole in his head, but I can’t see his brain. Mummy said that it’s because he doesn’t have a brain and I cried. Freddy said that you have to have a brain to be alive. Maybe mummy was telling one of those fibs that Freddy was talking about.
Daddy has lots of orange spots on his face too, like Freddy does. Sometimes I think they both have dragon pox but more orange-like. I tried eating lots of oranges but that didn’t work. Once I was sad because I didn’t have the orange pox so I drew on my face. Mummy shouted at me. Mummy doesn’t have a smiley face as much as daddy does.
Anyway, all the Weasleys and the Potters came over to celebrate his birthday. Birthdays are when you are all meant to be happy, but they didn’t seem very happy. Maybe it was because daddy wouldn’t get out of bed. I thought it was because he was tired but all the adults didn’t try and wake him up.
“Mummy,” I asked, as she put coffee in a cup, “When is daddy going to wake up?”
She smiled at me and said, “Soon.” It was then I saw what Fred told me about. Adults lie with their faces. Mummy’s mouth was smiling, but she wasn’t smiling because there was water in her eyes.
Adults are really weird. They never tell you what they really mean. I know this because I heard mummy talking to Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron. Aunt Hermione and mummy were talking about daddy and Uncle Ron and laughing.
Mummy said, “When George isn’t in a great mood, there’s always one thing I can do to cheer him up!”
Aunt Hermione started laughing and Uncle Ron’s ears went red. I asked them why they were laughing. Mummy said, “Nothing, Roxanne” and she patted my head.
I know it wasn’t nothing because Uncle Ron’s ears don’t just flash red for nothing, do they?
Adults are so weird.
I went into daddy’s bedroom. He wasn’t even sleeping! Daddy was sitting on his bed. I walked over to him and sat next to him. He didn’t look at me.
“Daddy,” I tried to hug him, “Happy Birthday!”
He looked at me sadly, and his eyes were all red. He smiled but it didn’t work. He looked like he was in pain and that he stubbed his toe or something. When Uncle Ron stubs his toe, he says naughty words really loudly and Aunt Hermione hits his arm. I wondered if my dad was going to say a naughty word.
“Why are you pretending to be happy?” I asked him, looking at what he was holding. There was an open box on his lap.
He didn’t answer me, so I looked in the box. There were lots of photos with two daddies, and there was stuff for his shop. The stuff seemed really old. I knew that there weren’t really two daddies. When we were little, daddy told us all about the other Fred. Freddy was named after Fred and daddy said that the other Fred, Uncle Fred, would have loved me and my brother very much.
The other Fred was my daddy’s twin and his best friend in the whole world. But he was lost in the war before me and Freddy were born. Daddy doesn’t smile as much when he talks about him because he misses him. Maybe, when the other Fred was lost, he had something of daddy’s.
“Roxy…” Daddy whispered, giving me a big hug, “I’ll be up soon. Just-”
Then I knew; maybe, if I found him, daddy would be happy on his birthday. They could blow the candles out together!
“Shall I find him for you?” I asked curiously. Daddy looked like he was hurting still, but he sort of smiled. It was more real than mummy’s.
Daddy shook his head, “Roxy, he isn’t lost like that.”
“Oh.” I paused. What sort of lost was he then? “So he isn’t lost?”
“He’s dead,” Daddy said loudly. He sounded angry, “Now please-”
I knew what dead was. It meant they weren’t in their body anymore. So he wasn’t lost, then. We all know where he is. I looked at my daddy. He looked like the other Fred did. I poked his cheek. Daddy looked at me.
“I’m sorry, Roxy,” Daddy hugged me again, “I’m not angry at you.”
“He is here,” I said simply. I poked daddy’s cheek again, “He looks like you do so he is here because you are.”
Daddy looked at me really weirdly. I looked at him back.
“Mummy says that when someone is dead… they are still here, with the people they loved. She says that we’ll see them again.” I traced daddy’s orange spots on his cheek with my finger, “Look. I can make a ‘F’ with your orange pox. That means that Fred says hello.”
It didn’t really, but adults say things like that when people are sad. They say stupid things that don’t make sense to make us feel better. When my goldfish died, daddy made a fish-shape with my cereal and told me it was my goldfish’s ghost and he was saying he was happy. I knew that was silly because my goldfish wasn’t made out of rainbow-colour circles.
Daddy smiled at me. It was a real smile. Maybe he believed the lie. I hope he did; I don’t like it when his happy face is pretend.
A/n. I felt really weird writing this one. What do you think?
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