Sometimes things change little by little. Sometimes you turn around and everything is different. My daughter has two bedrooms now, in two houses. I tell her she is lucky, that it means more toys, more things to do, more excitement. But she wants one bedroom. She wants her mummy and daddy to be together.
I am making dinner in the kitchen when I hear a noise near the front door and stop chopping, trying to listen above the music. There it is again: a shout, perhaps Saturday drinkers passing by. I go into the hallway to listen. As I get to the staircase I hear a voice coming through the letterbox shouting I Love You Daddy. The sound echoes in the space, then the letterbox rattles shut and I smile.
By the time I get the door open my daughter has reached the corner of the street, but when I shout to her she turns and smiles at me. The familiar smile, stretching wide, turning her cheeks into two doughy balls. She runs back and hugs me, her mother watching in the background.
I know I will see her next week, but all the same it is strange to see her like this. It is the time of day I used to make her tea. Now she’s somewhere else. Now I don’t even know what she’s doing. She runs upstairs and re-appears with a spotty dog from her bed. I love you too, I say. Bye daddy, she says as she disappears past me. Things used to be different. But different doesn’t have to mean better, I tell myself.