My mother has always told me the story of how, when I was born, my godmother took a taxi all the way down from London to Kent and made it wait while she went to see the new arrival.
‘Adorable!’ was her verdict. Followed by, ‘And don’t worry, if she doesn’t grow into it, she can always have a nose job.’
So every so often, when I would look at photographs of myself or stare too long at the reflection in the mirror, I really hated my nose.
There’s nothing wrong with my nose. We’re not talking Cyrano de Bergerac here. But it’s strange how the little things can affect you when the mood is right. Especially when you add to the ‘My face is too round/I’m too fat/…’ thoughts that pop into a woman’s head from time to time. When they all hit you together you might as well just curl up into a ball and eat chocolate until they go away.
Then, a few weeks ago, I was at my parents’ house for dinner. I looked across at my father. He was listening to a story my mother was telling and laughing at old memories. His nose caught my eye.
That was when I realised.
My nose is his nose. The same proportions, same slant, same little upturn at the tip.
I haven’t had a bad thought about my nose since.
My father is sick. He will – he is – getting better. But underneath the layers of optimism and the utter determination to only think good thoughts, is the desperate fear that screams out from my heart like a soul in utter torment: what if I lose him?
But now, even if that happens and my world crumbles around me, I will always have a part of him with me.
Maybe it’s silly, but it actually makes me feel better.