“Da/dy!” Her voice was loud and soft, the way voices are on a windy beach where the waves are rolling in and the sand is picked up and thrown at sandwiches. He was struck by the juxtaposition of the two images. If only Lord Sandwich had made the connection too.
“What is it darling?” He turned to her, ignoring Mrs Hammond and the grubby child for a moment. “Shouldn't you be in class? I think the bell has gone.”
“Ta/him.” She held out the soft toy. Had she changed her mind about show-and-tell and wanted him to take Jasfoup home again? He reached for the toy but she was much further away then he'd thought, or the playground had become much larger. The grubby child was in his way.
“Take my hand.” The boy, what was his name? Lentil? spoke for the first time. His voice was softer than Harold expected. Almost feminine. It reminded him of a bottle of expensive perfume he'd poured down the sink once, just to watch to tint of pink colouring make a spiral around the drain. “I'll lead you to her.”
Harold frowned. It was a reasonable offer, but the boy's hands looked to be thick with oil.
Harold looked up just as Lucy lobbed the toy in a lazy, overhand arc. Harold reached for it, his hands over his head. It was a replay of a cricket match he'd been in when he was a teenager, an easy overhead to mid-field, right where Harold had been standing. All he'd had to do was hold up his hands and he'd have caught it, but at that moment he'd been in the middle of composing an Italian sonnet in his head and had only looked up at the last moment. He missed the catch and was summarily stripped of his whites.
He wasn't composing sonnets today.