“Tara, heart? Is this yours?”
Tarapha looked up at the sound of her mother’s voice. Her mother was standing in the doorway to Tarapha’s bedroom, holding a blue stocking out at arm’s length, between thumb and forefinger like it was a dead rat. Tarapha eyed the garment and shrugged.
“Tara,” her mother said, bolstering her voice. “Is this stocking yours?”
Tarapha looked back to the book in her hands.
“I’m asking you a question.”
“I don’t know, mum,” she said very quietly.
Her mother sighed, dropping her arm to her side. She stood there for a moment, perhaps thinking of saying something else, but she decided against it and walked away with a emphatic huff.
Tarapha’s eyes did not leave her book, but her ears followed her mother’s footsteps back into the main room. She approached the oven and stopped. The thought of the fire made Tarapha remember how cold it was in this corner of the house. She considered going after her mother, if for no other reason than to be near the fire and to be warm.
She heard her mother sigh in exasperation, and decided to keep still.
“What is it, my dear?” said Tarapha’s father.
“I keep finding odd socks in the laundry that don’t have mates.”
Her father laughed. “I think that’s the curse of the laundry, my dear.”
“Not socks that are missing their mates, socks that don’t have mates.”
“Well, they must have had mates at some point.”
“Not in this house, they haven’t. They’re stockings I’ve never seen before and they just keep appearing, one by one.”
“Have you asked Tar—”
“Oh, of course I have. But what use do you think that is?”
“She didn’t know?”
“Even if she did, she wouldn’t tell me. I swear on the falls, that child is the most astounding thing I’ve ever seen.”
“If she didn’t have anything to tell you, love, perhaps she just didn’t know.”
“Don’t make this out like she’s a normal child. You know that’s not the case.”
“I’ve never thought she was a normal child from the second she was born, that doesn’t mean I think she has anything to do with some strange stockings.”
As her parents continued to converse, Tarapha set her book aside and stood up. She glanced once to her window, thought about jumping out of it and running to the meadow, then walked calmly through her door and into the main room. She appeared silently in the doorway, but caught her mother’s attention almost instantly.
“Tara?” her mother said.
“I knitted the socks, mum,” she said.
“You did what?”
Tarapha did not repeat herself.
“See there?” her father said with a laugh. “Simple as that.”
“When did you learn to knit, dear?” her mother asked.
“Please do not throw them out,” Tarapha said.
Her mother looked concerned. “I won’t throw them out, dear. But…they much too small for you to wear. What in the tides did you knit them for?”
“For all the others,” she replied.
“The other who, Tara?” asked her father.
“The others. They needed socks.”
Her parents exchanged glances. It only took her mom another moment to give up on the conversation and leave the room.
“Do you know why they needed socks?” her father asked after the two of them were alone.
He waited for a second and then urged, “How come?”
Tarapha was about ready to leave. She remembered her book, and wanted to continue reading. She looked back once to her Father and answered, “Because the sea is cold,” and returned to her room.