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The wind blew slightly on a July afternoon. It was anything but chilly, the wind did nothing to help cool down the humid heat. It was morning and the heat was supposed to get worse as the day went on. Although it was Saturday I had no intentions of sleeping in. Daddy left early, big meeting but even though I was only eight I knew what was really going on this heated, July day. When mom and dad fought they try to keep it quiet or they go down to the almost sound proof basement to do their squabbling. Even though I was only eight I knew that this wasn’t good. Mom stayed in her room while daddy took his briefcase to the car that morning. I waited on the porch. I knew he had a bag already packed and waiting in the trunk. They always were trying to be sneaky but I knew, I always knew.

“Hey sport,” Dad said, walking to the porch and sitting next to me with a sigh. He always did that when he had something he had to say but didn’t want to. Here it came. “You are such a big girl you know that. I have a meeting in another state so I won’t be back for a while.” The big lie. He looked tired and old. He looked smaller and less himself. I looked up at him with my big brown eyes and I tried to hold the tears in. I was trying to be the big girl he thought I was. “I’ll be back, don’t you worry. And when I do get back I will take you shopping. How does that sound?” He smiled gently at me. It was a seemingly reassuring smile and for that moment I had my daddy and nothing could be better. I smiled back and gave a slight nod making my brown, straggly hair fall to my face. He brushed it away with his meaty hand and gave me a kiss on the forehead. “Rebecca I love you no matter what and no matter what happens please don’t forget that.” A tear fell down his cheek and the smile across his face faded. There was nothing I could do, nothing could be said. I tried to be a big girl but it was just so hard. He got in his car that needed so many repairs. Daddy backed up and never looked back.

“DADDY!” I screamed. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I ran into the street, desperately trying to get him to come back. I was frantic and so were the tears that welled down my face. “DADDY! Please! Come back!” I screamed and collapsed to the ground in the middle of the empty street.

A neighborhood boy, Alex, saw me. We had never talked but when our parents had scheduled play dates. He was a couple years older than me and a troubled boy. “Rebecca? Rebecca! What’s wrong?” He squeaked. Everything was barely visible with me frantically sobbing but I didn’t need to see his face to know that he had concern for me, I heard it in his voice.

“DADDY!” I screamed. That’s all I could say. He needed no more of an explanation though. He had seen my daddy leave me. He had seen me run after him trying to catch a car that was just too fast for a little girl. He held me close and I sobbed into his shirt leaving snotty remains but I didn’t care and thankfully neither did he. The scorching heat, the being in a dangerous spot in the middle of the street, nothing was going to make him leave me until I had calmed down and leave myself. I fell asleep in his arms after a while. The crying had made me exhausted. Alex carried me home, concern never left those innocent, blue eyes. He stayed with me while I slept since my mom had to go the grocery store. He stayed until dark and then he was forced to leave my side. Alex became my best friend that day. The troubled boy was my best friend from the day forward and he had no problem with that either.

Submitted: February 04, 2009

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