"He's in the bathroom."
"Oh. I go see him!"
And off she runs.
She wants to know where he is, what he's doing, watch him, help him, keep him in sight so he doesn't disappear again.
It is dinner time. She drags her plate over to Someone's spot, climbs on his lap, and eats with him. He takes a bite, she takes a bite. Then she feeds him a bite. She tells him what's on her plate and which things taste good together. She leans against him, wraps her little arms around him, says softly "I love you Papa, I'm glad you're back."
She climbs down and scampers off, only to return a few minutes later for some more lap time and a bite or two.
She scampers up to him, hugs him tight, says "I missed you!", then does a little dance and runs off to play.
"Where's Papa going?"
"He needs to run an errand."
"I can go too?"
"Not this time, honey girl."
"He will come back?"
"Yes, sweetie, he will come back."
"He isn't going away?"
"Only for a few minutes, and then he will be home again."
She watches out the window until he returns.
"Papa's home! Papa's hooooooome!!!" and she dances about.
He is sitting n the lounge. I smacked her bottom for being rough with the cat. She is insulted more than hurt, but Papa is a good audience so she is hamming it up. I turn on her new favourite show on Netflix (Thank you, T, for sharing your account with us) and she lifts herself off the floor and climbs onto Someone's lap, leans against him. He wraps an arm around her and she relaxes, head on his shoulder, watching the TV, safe and warm in Papa's lap.
He has been home one day shy of two weeks. In that time, she has been his shadow. When she isn't tagging along behind him, she is asking where he is, where he's going, what he's doing, when he'll be back, if she can help him, if he'll play with her, read to her, sleep in her room at night. She is gorging herself on his presence, a glutton for Papa. If he is gone for too long, she watches for him. If he's in the garden or the yard, she insists on going out to be with him. She's getting lots of garden time, tanned skin, and millions of mosquito bites and she is over the moon to have him home.
"Papa, I wanna watch bideos with you."
They turn on Youtube and find things to watch, mostly animals, occasionally music or educational things. She sits on his lap and giggles, holds his arm, leans against him.
Every morning she climbs over me, plops between us, nestles in, sighs, and drops back into deep sleep. Sometimes she will lay her head on my shoulder, sometimes on Someone's. She throws her arm around him, as if to keep him there. She gets up with him to make coffee - he lets her push the button on the grinder.
We are living in uncertain times. The court system is slow, grinding along. We have no idea when, or even if, there will be an indictment or trial. We just have to wait.
The novelty of having him back will wear off eventually - she's only three, after all - but he will always be her Papa, her favourite, and they are both making up for lost time and perhaps storing some away against future need. I watch, and wait, and hope for the best.