The blouse now ... I unbutton it from the top

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The Independent Online
Skirtless, jumperless, she lies on the floor, her hair settling about her like a silky parachute. She turns away and laughs, stretching her left arm to a book behind her, just beyond reach, stretching further to slide it from the shelf. I unbuckle her shoes and pluck them in turn from each heel: they brush her soles as they pass, tickling, it seems, for she next turns her head away from the book and giggles. The tights next. Tights on such a day! It must have been cold this morning when that decision was made. Practised, instinctive, not stirring from her page, she lifts her bum to let the seat of the tights pass under, and then I roll them down over her moley thighs and gleaming calves. The tights furl and thicken as they go, closing in on themselves then dropping from her ankles in a figure of eight. I hold her foot in my hand and run a finger along its length, from the heel, over the film of sweat beads on her arch (like the moist underside of canal bridges), to the caterpillar softness at the back of each toe ... The blouse now, penultimate: I unbutton it from the top. It snags here and there where thread has loosened in the buttonholes, down to the last button, which as it comes away brings with it the right side of her blouse exposing her right nipple, shallow navel and rose pink butterfly hovering on the waistband of her white pants. She sits up now, languorous from evening sun and carpet pile, still no words between us, though she's quietly humming to herself as I slip the right sleeve of her blouse off, then peel the last of it away from her left. I expect her to stand now so I can kneel in front of her (as is our custom) and slide her knickers over her knees and let her, step by step, walk free of them.

Blake Morrison on his daughter, extracted from 'Children', issue 55 of Granta magazine

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