Dadda

At Cottesloe Beach, 2015

Dadda! Dadda! a toddler screams
Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda! Dadda!

Dadda is chiselled, hard-bodied, striding up the beach
in rash top, mid-thigh shorts, expensive, tight
Under his right arm like a rugby ball
he carts a little girl
held horizontal, facing the ground
wriggling and kicking against his grip
screaming what she thinks is his name

By the shower he dumps her
She lands on her feet with a visible thud
He pulls her dress off over her head
yanks down her pink suit
with its frill around the hips
Having gotten her naked
he turns on the cold shower
shoves her under
She flinches, clings to his legs
He brushes water over her
with flat swipes of his palm

All this time she is screaming
All this time he says nothing
and his face does not move

A group of tourists stare
Even some of the locals look

He turns off the water
pulls a white and brown striped towel
off his shoulder

At last he will wrap and embrace her
I tell myself

He wrestles the towel around her
twists it into a knot
hoists her under his arm again
marches down the beach
Her wet things dangle from his left hand

All this time she is screaming
All this time he says nothing
and his face does not move
All this time I watch

First published in Creatrix 34, September 2016

What do you think?