Aside from very wide eyes, Father raised no
objections. In fact he warmed up rapidly, and
welcomed Elizabeth. She was ensconced in our
spare room. Elizabeth had no luggage. I rummaged
around to find her a toothbrush, a towel and some
pyjamas. It was rather awkward. Father decided
we should get take-away pizzas. I knew Elizabeth
would ordinarily be picky about toppings.
Surprisingly she didn’t mutter a word. There was
a sad down-trodden aspect about this new girl.
Elizabeth’s zest had departed. She was barely
recognizable. Once the pizzas were delivered,
we ate in silence. Father tried to drum up some
idle conversation, but everything misfired. After
a while, Elizabeth excused herself and went up
to bed. Father cast his head down. We said
nothing. Finally Father trailed off to bed too,
he had an early start. I wondered for how long
Elizabeth would stay. My heart felt knotted with
pity. Elizabeth’s future was bleak. Despite myself,
despite all logic, I cared for her deeply.


Author: Robert James Berry

Poet & Novelist