Originally published in Blue Guitar Magazine Fall 2009
I waited. The red lights danced before my eyes. I squinted; peering out over the street lights, the yellows reds and blues of the sirens created odd patterns on the ceiling. This bed was strange to me. I waited. The sheets smelled of someone else’s floral detergent, the pattern in the wood work was unfamiliar. I traced it with my eyes.
I counted the rafters in the ceiling, this was not my room. I waited.
I watched as the blue yellow and red kaleidoscope drove away. There was an odd silence and a strange stillness in the room. This was not my room. I waited. I waited for sleep to come. I waited for the owners of this room to check on me. I waited for the faces enshrouded in darkness, standing on the sidewalks, to return to their homes to
return to their families, to return to their lives. I waited to cry
and I waited to know. I waited to see him come home with mom, I waited.
I played games in the room; I sang to myself I counted the rafters
again, twice three times. I twirled a piece of my long silk hair
between my fingers. I looked out the window to watch the scene change, it was different now. The neighbors went back inside their homes and the calm autumn evening returned. I waited. I watched as the moon shone over head, clouds floated by, our star was shining
brightly. I waited.
Unfamiliar cars drove up. The neighbors retrieved me from the room that was not mine and I was returned to my house. All was just as it should have been, dim yellow lights filtered in through the hall as I sat quietly on the couch. I waited.
My mother came in, red swollen cheeks, drenched clothing, she hadn’t changed. I waited. Too scared to ask, I waited. A man, not my dad came into the room, I recognized him from church. I stirred in my seat, my palms began to sweat, my lip quivered. The room began to spin and my heart split into four tiny pieces, he was not my dad. I knew but
still, I waited.
My vision blurred my cheeks and eyes flushed and deep hot
red streamed down my cheeks, my stomach rose into my throat, I swallowed my tongue. My ears rang with the sound of quiet empty and cold voices, I shivered; I didn’t want to wait anymore.
Not my dad’s words fell upon me like rocks cascading down a mountain after a storm had brought to much water, too much rain, too much. My mother added to his heavy words. Dad would not come back they said, dead in the car with kaleidoscope lights they said our family was different now they said, God still loved me they said. Dad was with God. They said.
My heart bled through my eyes and I dissolved, into a
deep rhythmic sobbing. I thrashed and kicked the couch. I am waiting! He will come back tomorrow, he promised to take me on a bike ride, he is teaching me to learn how to ride without training wheels, he will come back. He promised. I will wait.
I am still waiting.