There is one person who has been rather in the background up till now, mainly because back then in fall 2015 I was just beginning to get to know her: my precious little daughter. Up until then she had been more like my cute little kitten – unconditionally loved, but limited in her ways of interaction with the world. I would feed her and cuddle her and she would love me just as unconditionally and absolutely as I loved her. Now she was almost two years old she started to talk in coherent sentences, expressed her own desires and dislikes, told me about her day when I came home from the lab. I could witness a mind unravel behind those big hazel eyes of hers, saw a character form and get more complex every day. She was no baby anymore, and definitely not a pet, but an actual human being.
Now that she is her own person, she needs a name here – let’s call her Elsa, because, like so many other little girls, she adores queen Elsa from Frozen.*
Elsa didn’t say hi to the Witcher when we got out of the car in front of the old villa in between the rivers. She was still in her shy phase and had not seen the Witcher – well, actually – ever, since the last and only time they had been in a room together she had hardly been able to sit, let alone remember a person who only visited her once.
He had invited me to a family gathering, something like a goodbye-summer party. I was reluctant to go because, first of all, I was still a little mad at him (yeah, it had actually been my fault, but I get mad when things don’t go as planned, no matter what) and second, it felt awkward to get introduced to all his family, as if I was his girlfriend. But he told me I could just attend as a friend of the family, plus there would be children present, which would be fun for Elsa, so I settled on a compromise and arrived on the morning after the actual party.
I am glad that I went. That day I discovered something unexpected: the Witcher is really good with children! Like this one person that doesn’t care that much for cats and definitely would never want to get one, but when invited the host’s cats would always hover around this person. I think it’s the way he talks to children, like they were just small adults. They feel taken seriously. And he is patient with them and shows them things, like how to let a stone jump over water, or how to build a “snowman” out of stones and sand, or where to find ducks or fish.
I had to leave in a bit of a hurry, after the Knight had called me and sounded very angry over the phone, telling me he had managed to ruin his newest do-it-yourself project by some small stupid carelessness. The Knight and handiwork – if it wasn’t for the rage, it would be quite adorable: he has big dreams, but then ends up swearing a lot and searching for his tools most of the time and taking forever. If he eventually finishes it, however, the products always turn out lovely, with a lot of attention to details. Well, IF…
I was talking to the Witcher next to my car when his dad came over out of the gardens to say good bye to me. He had been in the river when I made my final round, telling everybody I had to leave. I shook his hand, we had some brief small talk and he left again, as if tactfully leaving the Witcher and me to ourselves.
The Witcher had been so wonderful this whole day, I couldn’t help but kiss him goodbye. In a totally innocent way, as always. The next minute I was in my car, driving over the bridge, making my way home.
While driving away, Elsa wanted to know when we could go back there.
* Which makes mommy happy because a) she loves to sing along to Disney songs and b) it gives her plenty of opportunities to make sheep’s eyes at that charming bastard Prince Hans. <3