The house is so quiet, Ziva closed the door, standing in the hallway, stairs to the right, opposite, the lounge and the kitchen door. At this point, Jose used to pop his head round to greet them pretending they had woken him up. His arms pulling them in tight, Rylan wriggling free-running upstairs, pausing halfway to grin at his father, claimed he was too old for a bear hug, but secretly Ziva knew her brother loved it. It was these moments she longed for, the daddy-daughter time, Jose telling her tall tales, reading his latest book, cooking, or repairing faults in the house, making it all look easy. Her childhood diaries were full of the times they had spent together, no-one gave hugs like her father. Comfort, when the monster lurked under her bed, his sense of humour and tolerance of Rylan’s pranks made the house bearable. Jose’s death made life lonely and silent, his presence had held them together. Aria and Rylan took for granted the amount of work he did, these responsibilities now laid on Ziva’s shoulders. She would do anything to have her fathers support, his shoes were big and would be difficult to fill.
The kitchen was Ziva’s least favourite place, every meal she attempted threatened to go up in flames at any moment. She felt as though the appliances were against her. It was so easy to burn toast, blacken bacon, even the microwave looked suspicious if she got too close. Aria teased, recalling her own experiences as Ziva extinguished the flaming pan. Rylan walked in, grabbing a soda from the fridge he barely noticed the smoke. Ziva sighed scraping her burnt supper into the bin, defeated, she sat down to leftover cold Chilli.
Whilst cooking efforts failed, Ziva’s forte was fixing anything. As a little girl she sat for hours watching her father, handing him wrenches, channel locks and drain augers, she knew the names of everything in his toolbox and how to use it. Although Ziva loved him to read his books to her, the time they spend repairing the sink was what she treasured most of all. Jose’s instructions flowed, running water to the corners of her mind, her desire to build, fix and create born and nurtured in these moments. Being a doctor or scientist was a childhood dream, for now, it was a fight with the kitchen sink, Ziva spent hours researching how to fix and upgrade their plumbing making their house efficient, in particular Rylan’s long showers.
One significant benefit of her time alone was that she excelled academically, it was rare Aria read her report card or noticed her efforts. Rylan’s disappointing results and attitude was dominating the house. Ziva felt invisible sitting at her father’s computer, she wasn’t sure as she studied the code her friend sent her, they chatted online for a few hours as she got to grips with the 1’s and 0’s, creating a file on the desktop called “Ziva’s Stuff”. Nestled in her bed later she heard the scream, her nosy brother freaked as the computer went black, the eerie images on the screen pressed itself against the glass begging Rylan to release them. Aria ran downstairs, Ziva laid giggling, wishing she could have witnessed her brother’s comeuppance.