The chocolate ringlets on her head bounced up and down,
So innocent and carefree.
It was obvious her mother had picked out her outfit:
Black shorts with white polka dots,
Classic pink trim on her matching white shirt,
A laughing ice cream cone printed on the front.
She skipped down the street.
Her pristine white Keds scuffed from constant wear and tear in her Aunt Becky’s backyard:
Digging in the sandbox with her cousins,
Swinging on the rundown red swing,
Hiding in the tall, uncut weeds they called grass.
“Ready or not here I come!”
I held her small, pale hand in mine,
One of the many things she had gotten from my side of the family,
We had hoped she would have gotten her mother’s olive skin,
But we had hoped for a lot of things, hadn’t we?
I ushered her into the restaurant out of the brisk October air.
Her bright blue eyes reflected light from the laminated kid’s menu
And also deep concentration as she struggled to read it’s simple words.
She would be smart one day, I could just tell.
I imagined her walking down the aisle in her black cap and gown,
Shaking the president’s hand with one hand,
And receiving the college diploma I never got in the other.
“Mac ’n Cheese, please!”
She always ordered the same meal,
No matter how long she debated over whether to get the chicken fingers or the pizza.
But I guess that’s how kids are right?
Or maybe dependable is the better word?
She was my first born,
A trial run.
I was learning as I went.
As she finished off her bright orange pasta,
I handed her a small blue bag,
The words “Happy Birthday!” printed on the side in rainbow colors.
I hadn’t bothered wrapping it.
A bag just seemed easier.
Pulling out the tissue paper,
The single dimple in her left cheek appeared,
The same one that mirrored mine.
I wish that dimple could have remained there forever,
But I knew nothing could last forever.
“Angel, mommy and daddy are getting a divorce.”