In perhaps the only winter in between being a child and a woman, I have a memory. I’m with my dad. My dad’s this big 6ft 2 man, he’s got a gruffness, an element of intimidation about him. He won’t mind me saying that. We’re in a coffee shop, it’s the sort of place I’d like to practice being a grown-up in. I’d like to order a tea or a coffee, even though I don’t like coffee. My dad looks at me with apprehensive eyes, soft somehow. When he speaks it’s as if he is embarrassed, or shy, or something I can’t put into words. He asks me if I want a hot chocolate.
In that look, I’m sure he sees me as his little girl. Innocently devouring a hot chocolate with cream squirted from the can on top, bought on holidays, in cafes, at Christmas. A little girl bowled over by that small cup of milky, warm deliciousness, barely able to think about if it’s ‘grown-up’. But this is that winter, and I ask for that grown-up tea instead. Grow