As you walk ahead of me through the meadow I try to fall into the rhythm of your gait by filling the clear, dark prints of your boots in the morning dew. The air is damp, quite still on this side of the hill. There are buttercups opening all around us, like sunny polka dots. There are daisies too, some with little pink dashes on their petals. I know all this because I’m small and I’m getting tired of walking up this hill.
‘Daddy, carry me!’
You don’t hear me at first because you’re so high up, a skyscraper with your head in the clouds. I wonder whether you know what the clouds taste like or if birds have ever flown into your wiry hair by mistake. I don’t think they would. I think they’d know that they’d be in big trouble if they did. If I’m going to make you hear me, I’ll have to catch you up and that’s going to be hard. Your giant strides seem purposeful and effortless but I stumble every few steps, fighting my way around mole hills and clumps of dandelion leaves.
‘Daddy, I’m tired!’
There’s a flatter bit coming up and it’s my chance to gain some ground. The big pocket on your old waxed jacket is gaping open at the top, its covering flap torn off years ago. I think that if I can sprint a few feet, I could grab the pocket and you couldn’t escape.
As I try to grab a handful of the material, the smell of cold wax fills my nostrils and it is that which stops me from getting a good grip. You absentmindedly take my hand. I feel disappointed. Our palms are rubbing together as we walk on upwards but you’re so far away.