The petulant tone and elongated syllable, all too familiar a convention between father and child, wound around the corner of the lounge sofa where he lay slumped, submissive to the day’s fatigue.
“Yeeeees?” The Father replied, aping his daughter’s nevertheless effective means of ingratiating.
A single pair of eyelids slunk away reluctantly from their cosy embrace to regard the bleary shape of his diminutive daughter. She sidled up with the coy manner adopted by any child burdened with questions both curious in nature and indefatigable in practice.
“I heard you talking with Mummie about the dinosaur bones.” Her eyes alight with the same interest he recognized in himself when he was her age.
With an elaborated sigh of resignation, Marcus rolled his limbs forward, allowing the countering weight to drag his body into a more attentive, upright position.
“You do know it’s rude to eavesdrop don’t you, young lady?” He teased, knowing full well his daughter could give as well as she got.
“You would have told me anyway, but I don’t like waiting.”
Giving a slight, dismissive shrug of her shoulders, she pulled her small frame onto the sofa beside him and curled up in the corner. As she drew a cushion to her shins, held in place by her intertwining arms, Marcus knew nothing but the long story would suffice; she’d made herself comfortable.
“Well, how much did you hear?” He inquired.
She chewed on her answer momentarily before pompously reciting,
“You said that your team had found blood and tissues inside bones of a.. Parasaura.. No, Para, uhm.. Parasaurolophus,” she dissected the word into four parts in order to pronounce it, pausing to enjoy the accomplishment for which Marcus himself felt a measure of pride in his daughter. “That at first you thought Dennis had cut his finger and got his blood on the bones but then you tested it and found..” Again, she paused stumped by the pronunciation of another scientific mouthful.
“Nuclei?” Marcus offered, the corners of his mouth curled in encouragement.
“Yes, that,” She continued, “Which proves that it wasn’t mammal blood and that it must be dinosaur blood and you also found colly-jin and, and now we can finally make dinosaurs real again!” She became increasingly animated the further into her recollection she delved, finally pounding at the cushion by her feet with tiny fists, exalting.
Marcus only smiled at his daughter. He loved her enthusiasm for his profession and all it entails yet he loathed to be the one to smother her hopes. Expectantly, he turned his head away to regard the television set and sure enough, on the floor the well-worn case for the Jurassic Park DVD lay open. Its contents was like a talisman to her; an object of ritualistic meaning, a portal into a world that seemed to captivate her. At his daughter’s dying insistence they had of course paid a visit to the local cinema last week, to view the newly released reboot of the series. Marcus had kept a firm lid on his professional cynicism for the liberal use of artistic license, for his daughter’s sake, locking his jaw into a rictus yet smiling all the same at her squeals of shock and exhilaration.
Her eyes searched his feverishly for verification as his head turned to look at her once more, his brow knotted slightly in thoughtful regard.
“We have been wresting fossils from the earth for the last few centuries, all the while working with the notion that, what is called living tissue – not tissues -,” at this he prodded her forehead genially, provoking a giggle, “could not possibly survive the process of fossilization.” He shifted his position, steepling his fingers.
“This has just now been proven false, which is an important development – however!” he added quickly, countering his daughter’s interruption as she made as if to speak, “it is very early days. I doubt our technology and understanding will be sufficient to achieve this daydream of yours in my lifetime.”
Her face fell, the ebullience defeated in one swift and cruel sentence.
“But,” Marcus went on, “Perhaps in yours.”