The father did not say the daughter’s name. The daughter thought that he could say it, but that he didn’t want to. The father did say other names, though mostly not the right ones. He would call Jack, “John,” or call John, “James.” But he would not say the daughter’s name.
The daughter’s name was Jane.
At night the daughter squeezed into her side of the bed, yet the father stretched his limbs, touching her under the blanket. Waking to his cold touch made her shiver and shriek. When the daughter shrieked, the father would throw the bottle of cough syrup against the wall. There were stains of syrup all over the wall.
The daughter bought new bottles of cough syrup every day. All that cough syrup had tinted the daughter’s skin blue. It had made her forget some words. The daughter would write words on her blue skin so as not to forget them, but her sweat would smudge the words.
The daughter did not write the father’s name, or the word father on her skin. The daughter wanted to forget the father’s name, to forget he was her father. If the daughter could forget his name, she might believe she was his wife and not his daughter, and the father might say her name.