I'm toying with a white chess piece, a pawn, as I watch her sleep. I've made a decision: no more dragons. Not anymore. Not while I'm here.
...but there'd been dragons here (in her head? with her?) earlier, and she'd started screaming, again. She'd used the word "complicated" over and over, like she'd been told about the word at school and couldn't get it out of her head. "It's complicated Dad," she'd said, "Why is it so complicated?" And I'd tried to calm her down, tried telling her that I don't know, I don't know why, come on now, let's get you into bed. She'd writhed around under the covers muttering things I couldn't quite hear properly before getting slower and quieter and eventually falling asleep with one of her feet hanging out.
I slide her foot back in and rearrange her covers before picking up the chess piece and wondering – yet again – what the hell is going on here.
Over the last two days, Charlotte has pointed wide-awake to objects and furniture in the house and yammered about dragons being right there, RIGHT THERE, in front of her. She'd been sent home by a teacher for screaming about getting brain damage and seeing strange shapes blustering around outside the classroom windows.
As I turn the chess piece around slowly in my hands, I realise I'm shaking.