by I. C. Camilleri
He silently watched his twelve year old daughter eat the meagre dinner, the expired ham she had rescued from the supermarket’s trash can and the stale bread she had smuggled from her independent posh school’s bin. Outside, the wind howled and shook their flimsy two roomed caravan as the first snowflakes began to coat the frosty ground. The girl shivered and huddled her thin worn sweater around her.
“You can have my pullover,” he said as he gave her the only piece of warm clothing he now possessed.
“I’m sorry, Sam. You are a good girl and you deserve better than this. I promise you that next week we will have our home back. You can roam freely in our garden again and eat chicken pie and roast beef. You can concentrate on your studies and fulfil that ambition of yours. Don’t let anyone take your dreams away from you, not even your father. And you must always remember that. Go on, go to your room and do your homework, I’ll finish off here. Remember that education is the key to all your success.”
Why had he done this to his own daughter Samantha, his baby Sam? He still remembered that tiny bundle snuggling in his arms just seconds after birth. He had sworn to protect her and give her everything in life but he failed her just as he failed his wife. His Sam was born into wealth and comfort and now she was reduced to rags, poverty and hunger.
He had been a successful banker with a ten bedroomed farmhouse deep in the English countryside. He had everything he could ever need, a loving wife and a beautiful daughter. However that life was quickly snatched away from him the day his wife collapsed during an evening gala dinner he was hosting for his business colleagues. The few weeks that followed were his biggest living nightmare...