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Losing Her This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

So I’ve decided that I don’t care if she was your daughter or the God damned tooth fairy. I’ve decided that as her father you should be taking care of her two sisters instead of slowly letting your brain melt. She was as much mine as anyone else’s. I’ve known her all her life, and I watched it end. You have no right to be the way you are when it was my fault, when the tiny voice in my mind was screaming to save her and I did nothing.

I dream about her, I wish she was here, I see her in her sisters, every blond little girl I see is her. When they dragged her cold body out of the water she was blue and limp, the carried her past her sisters and I had to cover their eyes so suddenly that I nearly clawed their eyes out. They didn’t see her, but I did. I say. I say her blue doe eyes almost, but not quite closed. Water dripped from her skin everywhere it could, making her shine in the sun.

And in that instant she was gone. Fifteen minutes passed before they brought her up, and I knew she was gone. I have a rule about drowning—ten minutes and you’re gone. That’s especially true for people so young. She was eight. Under for fifteen minutes. Yeah, she was gone. It was sick, and it was wrong, I should have been down there with her. Her sisters were in the water too.

Seven, eight, and nine. That’s how old they are, my girls. I love them. I lost one of the few people that I have ever loved, and now she’s gone forever. I was there when she died, I knew it would happen, and yet here I am, with her gone. It’s like I’m losing my mind, ever since that day. I was losing her at the lake, and in the hospital, and a week before when I knew she was going to die. I couldn’t tell her though, I didn’t know how. I don’t know now if she’s just gone, or in heaven, or a spirit or what, but I do know that she is not with me.

So I’ve decided that I will never forgive you for telling them she knew how to swim. Because she didn’t. I was the only one who knew they couldn’t swim, but of course I didn’t stay with her. I’m never going to forget how you were supposed to have taken them to swimming lessons, you said you had, but you hadn’t. I remember your funeral, how I tried not to cry, how every joke received hysterical laughter, because we were all trying to hard to be happy.

I’m never going to forget how short of breath I was when I changed into my swimsuit and was sprinting down the stairs heading for the water. I got in the water, searching for her, hoping she would grab me, pull me, anything so I would know where she was. But nothing. I remember the hysteria of her oldest sister, who was ten. I remember how every time she would just calm down her mother would walk by in tears and she would too.

There was another thing though. I can’t seem to shake it. Her little sister, who was seven, her big brown eyes scared, but she didn’t shed a tear. I held them both close to me. “I promise we’ll find her. She’ll be okay, I promise.” I had never broken a promise to them before, because even though we did find her, she wasn’t okay. I think of how I stayed with her while she was in the hospital, leaving only minutes before the cut her off of life support. Whenever I was around them before I always hummed this song, she was fond of it and I told her that one day I would teach her the words.

So I wrote the on a piece of paper, folded it up and left it with her. I couldn’t bare it anymore. My little duck is gone. Its probably my fault, and you think you are the only one who lost her.

I don’t care if she was your daughter, the tooth fairy, or bugs frickin’ bunny, we all lost her.



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LeahBerrot said...
Sept. 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm:
it was supposed to say, "I saw. I saw her blue doe eyes. . . " My mistake.
 
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