"Father took me home, to a small villa built on the outskirts of the forest. Upon living there together with Father I learned many things about him and myself. When Father wasn't attending his pharmacy in the next town over he was teaching me about all sorts of things, about this world and it's government, about the neighboring countries and other things too like about plants and medicine.
I'm not interested in making medicine but I do like gardening and using the herbs I find to cook in my food.
I think Father wants me to take over the pharmacy when he gets older, because I feel bad I follow the instructions he gives me to brew herbal medicine but lately I think he's picked up on my reluctance because he suddenly decided that I should start helping out at the pharmacy after claiming it was understaffed.
Today will be my first time visiting town. For the first time apart from Father I'll be seeing people. I woke up extra early that morning, made breakfast and walked with Father together towards the Pharmacy.
The town looked so vacant, we had already made it out to our destination and not a single person was out on the streets, so when I heard a voice call to us out of nowhere I was startled and looked up at one of the apartment building to see a family of three waving at us from the window.
My Father tips his hat.
"Good Morning Joe, How's the baby Amelia?" he asks the man's wife who was cradling a baby in her arms. She smiles.
"Fine thanks to you."
Father smiles politely. I reel back in shock upon seeing this.
"Joe, Amelia this is my daughter Chartreuse." he announces.
Joe's eyes widen.
"You have a daughter? That's a relief I had always pegged you as a lonely bachelor." Amelia whacks him.
"It's very nice to meet you Chartreuse, please do come over for some tea sometime." she smiles at me warmly. I can feel a magnetic tug pulling at the corner of my lips as I mirror her smile.
"I will!" I say excited.
"Ahem." Father clears his throat to get my attention. He had already opened the door and was waiting. I wave goodbye before going inside. It's then that the grind begins. Father has me familiarize myself with all the medicines and the shelves they go on.
"I don't expect you to be an expert now but comes three days time I expect you to at least know where to shelve them." He tells me. After giving me a tour he tells me to sit behind the counter and watch him and the employees work. By the time lunch arrived I was bored out of my mind and starving.
"Come." Father beckons me with his finger and I follow readily as he steps out the pharmacy.
"Are we going to that Ms. Amelia's place?" I ask him.
"No. Lunch." he says looking straight ahead.
"Oh." I had almost forgotten my hunger just then and as if to remind me once more my stomach rumbles.
"Hmph." A corner of Father's mouth twitches.
We enter a cafe called Yolk Nut.
"Hey Lilyman!" Joe calls out to Father, he was wearing the uniform of a waiter.
"You work here Mr. Joe?" I ask him as he shows us to a table.
"Call me Joe sweetheart and yes, I work here. This place belongs to my sister-in-law." he grins proudly.
"Joe get back to work! That debt isn't going to pay itself you know!" A woman resembling Amelia emerges from the kitchen, she was a lot taller and skinnier though.
Joe seems to get nervous upon seeing her.
"Yeah, yeah....let the whole world know why dontcha?" He mutters.
"What was that?" she glares at him.
"I said on Friday night we serve Yolk nut merch-ah!" Joe lies.
"Uh-huh....." Unconvinced Joe's sister-in-law folds her arms at him.
"I'll be having the usual." Father says without even looking at the menu. I look at him and he stares at me.
"Have you decided what you want to order yet?"
"No." I flip through the menu until I come across something satisfactory.
"A fish filet, please."
"Hard to believe you have a daughter even though the resemblance is as plain as day." Joe notes after writing the order. "Where's the Mom?"
I look to Father my eyes suddenly widening. The thought never occurred to me even though it's common sense. Of course I'd have a mom, if I had a Father I'd have a Mother too.
"She ran off."
Joe frowns. I try to pretend as if I already knew this by simply not reacting.
"Oh...any clue where she might be now?"
"Married to another man." there's a sigh in Father's voice. Clearly he didn't want to talk about it.
"Ah...." Joe makes a wistful face as if he had just stepped on a landmine.
"Well...I'll be back with your food." he says before disappearing quickly.
I stare at my Father who stares at me.
"You never asked." he said as if reading my mind.
"It didn't occur to me that I might have a Mom..."
"And it should stay that way, as far as she knows you don't exist."
Did I hear that wrong?
"How could she not know I exist? She gave birth to me right?"
There's a veil in his eyes that disturb me.
"It's not that complicated but I think it's best for me to tell you when you get older." he says. To that face there's not much one could say.
Joe returns with our meals.
"Enjoy guys." he smiles at me reassuringly. "We don't have that many girls your age in this town, make sure to look after her Lilyman." Joe nudges Father who looks slightly irritated.
"You don't have to tell me that...I know."
"Yeah, yeah, you'd know this more than anyone huh? It was just a second but Mr. Rusoe seemed to look in this direction."
"Mr. Rusoe?" I ask. "Who's that?"
Both men ignore me. For some reason the air around Father grows tense.
Father doesn't move but his eyes shift to the far right. I do the same only my eyes couldn't really stretch that far, so when I try to shift my head Father steers my face away from Mr. Rusoe's direction.
"Eat." he says. "Lunch break's almost over."