25 February

I sleepwalked through the morning session at court. I still feel very agitated about Etcetra for some reason. She had been home last night, but very quiet and withdrawn. Ogre had been solicitous. I had hidden myself behind a book.

Perhaps what is still rankling is the fact that Etcetra does not feel obliged to tell us where she had been that night. I have no issues with her personal freedom unless they involve some complicated relationship with her Sir, but I do believe that she should have been more apologetic about worrying us so badly.

I land up at her dance studio knowing that she will not be there that day. Pink Ponytail gives me a quick, worried glance, and turns away. Perhaps he is hoping that I will go away. But when I refuse to budge for 10 minutes, he is forced to come over, considering he is the only person leaping around in the studio. I suppose he realizes how foolish he is looking, dancing as if he is alone, when in fact he is not.

Pink Ponytail: “Etcetra doesn’t come in for rehearsal today.”

Me: “Oh. I’m sorry. I thought she would be here.”

Pink Ponytail doesn’t look as if he believes me. He stands there politely waiting for me to leave. I stand there confused, wondering how to go on.

I blurt: “Lithe Gamin is not around, either?”

Pink Ponytail: “No.”

He looks at me, warily.
Me: “Or Sir?”

Pink Ponytail: “No. I’m the only one around. As you can see. Is there anything else? I need to practice.”

Me: “How is Etcetra doing?”

Pink Ponytail: “What do you mean?”

Me: “Her dance. Is she doing well?”

Pink Ponytail: “Yes. I guess. She works hard. She’s getting there. Look, I really must go.”

What can I ask? What had I been thinking on my way here? That I would ask someone like Pink Ponytail outright:

1. Do you know what my sister is up to?
2. Can you tell me how she spends her time?
3. Is she on drugs?
4. Is she having an affair with Sir?
5. Can you keep an eye on her when she’s here?
6. Will you call me if you see her doing anything she should not be doing?

Pink Ponytail goes back to his pirouettes. I stand there watching him for some time. I feel ridiculous.

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