and The Quest to See
Chapter 7 - Dad's don't cry. Do they?
'Ya gunna just sit there and cry yourself empty?' said Harry, looking up
at Priscilla through the glass underside of the garden table. Her face,
slightly blurred by her shed tears on the surface, was miserable and
'Don't know what else to do Harry,' she sobbed. 'It's so hard to believe
what Gran says, and yet I know she wouldn't lie to me. It must be
true... But why? Why would our Mother leave us? Why would she ride up
into the mountains and kill herself? She had everything to live for: Dad
and me and Henry. Maybe she was secretly sick! Maybe she had some awful
'Maybe you should ask your Dad and Mum.' Harry suggested, his tongue
swiping at a raised paw. 'And before you say anything, your Mum is still
your Mum. Not the original, but the one who has stuck with you two for
most of your lives. She's still your Mother, even though she's not your
birth mother, and Louis is still your Brother. Nothing has changed
there. What you and Henry have to do is to come to grips with where your
past lies. Speaking about Henry? You gunna tell him?'
Priscilla slowed her snivelling and dragged her sleeve across her eyes.
'He should know.'
'Does he need to know right now? He's only fourteen of your Earthly
years. You Big-Girl enough to keep this schtum until later?'
'Why? Why? What would I do that for? Henry has a right to know, just
like me. Oh yeah, I know it'll hurt him badly but like Gran says, the
truth is the truth. I have no right to keep that secret...'
'Yes you do.' Harry looked up at her with his liquid, unblinking eyes.
'But nothing. I'm telling you. The truth is not the truth, until it is
proved. Wanna try for that?'
'Harry! Like, go back to see?'
'Dangerous for you, the more times we do it, the more times the chances
are you'll come back an idiot without a mind.'
Priscilla wiped her eyes and a tiny smile crept out. 'Maybe we could
send Henry, he's already qualified.'
'I suggest you do several things right now: make no decision, march back
inside and console your Gran before anyone else comes home, get ready
for your Dad and... your Mum. Keep cool and keep Henry cool, and speak
with Monique. Meantime we wait for an opportunity while I do some neat
research with my pals: see what I can sniff out. You just have to hang in there.'
Priscilla made a face and shook her head so hard that her eyeballs
almost collided. 'I want to go back, no matter how dangerous.'
'You'll most likely get a peek at you and Henry as toddlers.'
'I can handle that Harry and O.K. I'll do what you say now as long as
you can take me back there soon.'
'You'll need Monique with you too, as backup in case it gets...'
'In case I crack-up. Is that what you mean?'
'Nothing wrong with having a friend along.'
'I'll ask her.'
'Probably won't have to when she hears what you're going to do.'
Priscilla did a pretty good job of covering her own feelings and calming
Amelia Black down, so much so that Mollie felt confident enough to take
her leave, and by the time Henry and Louis got home things had calmed
and the boys sat down to dinner without knowing anything of what had
transpired. Louis noticed Priscilla's reddened eyes but she brushed it off
as hay fever.
Later, when the boys were upstairs checking out Henry's lizards and
their new babies (Lizards do that sometimes. Even Gizzard.) Grandma
Black took a call from Western Australia and after some smothered
dialogue, passed it on to Priscilla.
'Hi Dad,' she said as brightly as she could muster.
'Gran told me what's happened Princess. It's really all my fault. I'm
'No. Hear me out. It was so hard for me back then. I was pretty green...
young... I never thought anything like that could happen. There was no
warning... I wasn't prepared... and after... I just couldn't bear to
think about it... I mean was it my fault? What happened? Did I do
something? Had I failed somehow? I thought I was a good husband, trying
my hardest to be a good father... I just don't know... Never knew...
Then, when I met your... Rachael... she made things somehow brighter...
brought me back into reality... or her version of it at least... Anyway,
together we thought we should keep it from you and Henry until you were
old enough to understand... and it wasn't a secret... it was an open
wound that has never healed... I'm sorry Princess... very very sorry...'
Priscilla was listening to her Father crying on the other end of the
telephone and it was like a slap across her face. Dad's don't cry.
Dad's are strong. She wanted to say something to ease his sorrow and
pain. And somehow she had to see a way of overcoming all the distress.
'Dad, Dad... Father! Yes! My Father! That's who you are!'
It was almost as if she had kept it as a secret in her heart, never
dared to actually say the word Father. 'And my Mother is that slightly
screwy lady you married. She's our Mother. But I have to know about our
birth Mum. Will you tell me?'
There was a long pause and a deep sigh at the other end of the line. 'I
loved her dearly Princess, and I've got the proof.'
'What proof Dad?'
'You and Henry...'
The second call was briefer and somehow less painful. Priscilla was on
the same phone as the one Rachael had used when first rehearsing her
T.V. role as the killer-mother in 'Child's Play.' but there wasn't a
kitchen knife in sight.
'Before you say anything Priscilla, I want you to know that I'm sorry
that you had to find out this way and I implore you not to be angry with
Louis, he was just a little boy himself and getting used to not having
his... my Ex. who was his Father. I really wish I could be right there
with you and Henry now, but at the moment I have only had time to take
Mathew's call and to ring across the waves to you. Must away darling.
I'm on a panel show about... Well... That doesn't matter. Be brave and
please, please wait until I can be home again...'
Less stressed, yet also somehow empty, Priscilla wiped her eyes, said
goodbye and hung up.
'That's just it. I can't wait. Harry...' she murmured to herself
'Right down here,' said Harry looking up at her from the shadows. 'You
need a light dinner and an early night. Avoid your brothers and head for
the sack. Tell your Gramma you want some time to yourself. Better in the
morning. All that stuff.'
'I can go tonight?'
'Sure, to see Monique first, then we do the deal. You both go back, but
only short time, so take notes. Eat something. You look like Little
'Who's Orphan Annie?'
'A skinnier version of you, get going.'
Chapter 8 next