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I wondered what life would be like without you. I thought and thought, let my mind stray as I lied in my bed watching the shadows of the candlelight dance across the wall, but I couldn’t think of a single thing. Things would be different, I would be different. For the better or for the worse, I don’t know.
Footsteps echo into my room from the hallway, demanding the floor for obedience. They pause outside my door. I can almost feel my mother shaking from where I lay.
The door opens with a screech and I hear my mother flinch. I pretend to be asleep, which isn’t so hard. She closes the door behind her and I’m left to my lonesome once again.
She’s checking to see I’m still in my bed. I’ve snuck out so many times before she wouldn’t be shocked to see my bed empty. I start wondering again. My eyelids drop and I feel a haze wash over me…
I’m in my sunroom alone. It’s nearly two in the morning and I stargaze in my thin nightdress watching the sky churn. It’s one of those rainless thunderstorms that come in the summer. Lightning flashes across the sky as thunder shakes the skinny glass around me.
I pull the thin blanket closer around me as I shiver. The wind whistles through the scrawny cotton and nips at my vulnerable skin. I shiver again as another lightning bolt dances across the sky.
My hair flies around me like a swarm of bees trying desperately to escape from their nest. I make a fort of pillows around me and huddle beneath their flimsy protection. A lightning bolt flashes again and the repercussion of thunder slaps me in the face. Tears spring in my eyes as fear whelms a tight fist around my heart.
I should go inside, I really should. This isn’t safe, the last bolt of lightning nearly hit and-
My scream cuts me off, blending into the sound of glass shattering. A rainstorm of glass showers down on me. My scream rebounds on me like an uncanny nightmare. Pain erupts everywhere and I feel the life draining from my body….
I watch as a red ball bounces across my vision…. Didn’t I have one just like that when I was little? Oh, and there’s that pink bicycle! Its streamers fly in the summer heat, wavering like a mirage in a desert…. Didn’t I have a bicycle like that?
I hear your voice next, like an angel singing into the night.
“Ma’am, Ma’am! Are you okay?” you scream.
You had such manners, such beautiful manners…
I heard sirens next, wailing in my ears and forbidding me from succumbing to the black haze drawing me closer. The pink bicycle, I just want the pink bicycle sir! Please, I want to ride on its glossy white seat and twirl the streamers through my fingers….
“Sir, you need to come in the ambulance-”
“Sir, I must insist-”
“I’M FINE! JUST TAKE THE GIRL!”
I feel myself slipping away from you. I fall away from it all and the black haze closes around me. I open my eyes and there are tears rolling down my cheeks. That was when I first meet you; that was when you saved my life.
I look at my arm and see the scars. I trace my finger lightly across all of them, remembering that night over and over in my mind. On my arms, my legs, my neck… they look deathly against my pale skin. They said it was a miracle I survived.
If I’d’ve known you were my father, and that you were going to die from that one piece teeny tiny piece of glass that you didn’t want to go to the hospital for–
Well, I would’ve told you how much I loved that pink bicycle you gave me for my birthday before you had to leave for Japan. Even though you didn’t come back for ten years until that one stormy night, you came back in time to save your baby girl.