“I don’t have a daughter.”
She looked Julia in the eye. “You have to talk about her sometime. You have to open up to someone, and talk about it. Even if it isn’t me.”
“No,” said Julia, and walked away.
Julia refused to talk about Norrell, no matter who asked, and she had a lot of offers. She had opened up once, and it had blown up in her face. Never again.
She had two younger daughters who shared the same room. This question came up as she was tucking them into bed.
Julia paused with the blanket over her 9-year-old. “Nobody. Why do you ask?” Julia replied, tucking the sheet over her.
“We heard your conversation with the lady today. You said she was your daughter.”
“I said no such thing.”
“Mommy!” Sandra in the other bed, and her sister Alex joined in the stretched out chorus.
“Alright,” said Julia, silencing them. “I had a daughter once, named Norrie. But she was taken away from me.”
“Why?” sang Alex, innocent eyes stared up at her.
“Because I told her a secret, and in return she told the school. They deemed me unfit to take care of her, and took her away.”
“What was the secret?” asked Sandra.
“A very bad thing.”
“Can’t you tell us?”
“Well, was it true?” asked Alex.
Julia paused. “No.”
“Then why’d you tell her.”
“I was afraid she’d run away from me.”
“Because… she’d stopped trusting me. She knew I was keeping something from her. I just wanted to keep her with me.”
“So why not just tell her that?”
“I… was afraid.” She tucked in Sandra. “Goodnight.”
Julia turned out the light, and closed the door.