It's the color of her nose that winter morning I first saw her. Her cheeks flush the same color when I can't help saying hello. It's the color of her lips when she smiles at me and says yes. When I dip her in my kitchen turned dance floor it's the color of her dress. It's the color of her laugh when she pretends to steer my motorcycle. When she places her hand over my heart, it's the color of her fingertips as they trace down my chest. It's the color I feel when my arms wrap around her like the world's safest blanket. It's darker than the shade of the blanket they wrapped you in when you were born. Each one of your teeny tiny toes are this color. It's the color of your innocent hands when you fall off your bike. It's the color of her favorite Christmas sweater. It's the glow of the fire that last Christmas Eve.
It's the color of my breath when the scene becomes clear. When I scream at the top of my lungs, it's the color that pierces the atmosphere. It is not the color of her hands when I cradle her against my chest. Rocking back and forth against the wall which is now stained that same color. When I look into her eyes for the last time its the fading color of my heart. It is the color I see when I realize I can’t protect her. Or you. Its is not the color I feel with the wind ripping through me as I ride away from you.
That house and I both had our hearts ripped out. When I turned to take it in one last time it still had the glow that houses have when a happy family lives there. But is was fading. Because it didn't have a family to keep safe anymore. Just like me. I was supposed to be your house. Your home. And Mama’s home. But I couldn't be that for my girls. So I had to leave. I just had to. I had to get away and take the danger with me. I just had to.
Years later I wasn't doing too good. I had to remind myself why I left. Just to know that staying away was the right thing. I never even went to see you and your mama because I never got past that damn house. I navigated through the overgrown jungle of weeds to find the now cracked wood of the porch steps. I remembered nailing each board together as she stained them a deep cherry red on the opposite side of the structure. She looked up every few minutes to catch me watching her with a still and complete love that you can only have for one person. I came back to reality and found the boards dangerous to walk on with gaping holes where the wood had broken in and faded due to the harsh conditions of this world. I crossed over the threshold of the front door. I could feel the shift in energy as I passed through the doorway, almost as if I was looking at an old man aching from a life of distress. The painful rain that blew in through the missing doors and windows turned the accumulated dust into mud. I couldn't be in there anymore. I turned suddenly and almost in a panic walked back down the steps. I took a step back to take in the whole house. What I saw wasn't the house. The house had become a mirror, reflecting what the world had turned me into. I couldn't let you see me for what I was. Better for you to hate the idea of your abandoned father than to know the tragedy and hurt that consumes him. But I guess you feel abandoned too. I didn’t know what to do after that. So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I ran away. I left and rode my bike someplace far, far far away.
Is it cowardly to run if you gotta be brave to run the race?
I don't remember when my daddy left. I never knew him, but I still hated the man for runnin away. And when he died, that hate never allowed me to mourn for the death of a seemingly stranger. My mama never even told me his real name. I know she blames herself for the man I became. I was an angry young man who thought the only way to get back at the world was by being a bad guy. I don't think I really am a bad guy, but I did what I needed to do to survive growin up in a tough neighborhood with no daddy. I blamed who I became on his absence. I hated him. I could have found out who he really was when I grew older but I had no intention of meeting the coward while he was still livin. I swore to never be like him. I would love my children no matter what. See, I love you. You may hate me for leavin but I love you so very much. I think thats the difference between me and my old man. He ran away for himself. I left for you.
Can we influence ourselves more than other people can?
I was thinking about what role models you have. But then I realized I never really had any. Of course I had my mama but I don't think I let myself have anyone to look up to. Through the pains of my life, I have wrapped myself into a nice tidy box. But then I threw that box into a vat of wet concrete and built brick walls around it. I closed myself off. Whatever people say to me, positive or negative, barely effects the way I think or chose to act. I mean I still listen to what people have to say, but I cannot remember a time where I actually sought out advice from another person. Maybe it's cause of experience or I just don't trust people. I don't know. Some may think its sad but I just think I take more outta life itself then the people in it. But you loved life and everything in it. You were a curious explorer who digested everything and made sense of it all, even though you were so young. I hope I can make sense of it all.
Hopeful hearts are the only thing keeping humanity alive.
You are a princess. You have always been a princess since the day you were born, but today you are shining brighter than any star I've seen. You are so beautiful sweetheart. You have your mama's cunning smile and my dangerous eyes. I see me in you but it's better in every way. It's hard to explain in words, because it is such a powerful emotion. But I can see my strength in you without the need to wage war. You have courage without being reckless. You have respect for everyone without judgment. You have a beautiful mind. And you are just so smart. I can see how you would grow up even though I wasn't there. The brief time I knew you I saw it all, I knew the woman you would have become. This world wasn't good enough for you. It has always been hard for me to except your the one who really left. It's easier to think your living with someone else or someplace far away. I just do not know how else to cope. But I know I can't see you right now, my beautiful angel. I Love you baby girl. Tell Mama I love her too. I will see you sooner than you think.