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I’m always looking for patterns. I feel like I’m playing a constant game of Memory, trying to turn up the card that will match the first one. Sometimes I think it’s my narrative impulse that is scouting for metaphors, hooks to hang my stories on. But maybe it’s just a general human impulse. For instance, Violet’s creche teacher, the one who is a Christian, told me that Violet is always picking flowers and bringing them in to her. ‘Isn’t it amazing, the colours that God makes? It’s so great that Violet sees that,’ she said. Whereas I thought it was because we have a flower garden at home, and she’s always pulling the heads off my freshly-hatched poppies, so it’s only natural she does that at creche too.

Why am I always trying to imbue meaning into everything? Why does Violet turn the animals into little families, scolding the children when they don’t sit up at the table, and insisting that the tiny giraffes scrub their teeth? Sometimes I wish I could just take the world at face value – then I’d feel far less anxious. But also I think I quite like feeling like I’m in the middle of an art house movie – that everything around me is symbolic, and that soon the soundtrack will kick in and I’ll realise that something wonderful – or terrifying – is about to happen.

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