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Every mother remembers a whole range of firsts. First smile. First word. First steps.

Philippa leaned against the kitchen counter, watching her daughter. There were two cushions on the chair, and Georgia was perched on top of them so that she could reach properly. She had her favourite colouring book open in front of her, and pencil crayons were scattered across the table.

She reached out and picked up the nearest crayon, barely looking at it before putting it to the paper. Her tongue poked out of the corner of her mouth, and she scribbled gently.

Philippa didn’t need to see the sheet to know that the colours were perfectly even, perfectly within the lines, almost expert.

Georgia reached out again for the nearest crayon. It was blue, but by the time it touched the paper it was a perfect peachy skin tone colour. The set didn’t even have that colour to start with, but Georgia wanted it, so there it was.

She scribbled on the paper. From her position near the sink, Philippa could see the pencil going across the lines. It should have been a complete mess, but the colour sank only into the right bits. Georgia only wanted it there.

Philippa clutched her coffee cup and tried to tell herself that it was only colouring in, but the memory was burned into her along with all the other firsts.

First fear.

© Kari Fay