There’s No Way Around It

One of my favorite pieces form recently–also a selection for our anthology.

* * * *

This is about my five year old neighbor.

It’s simple but it’s not.

The way her curls bounce in her wake, and she lets out carefree shrills of girlish excitement, gives me the most twisted emotions. The way her parents are tucked away all day, getting caught up on sleep or absorbed in to the monitor of their computer, leaves her needing attention. Needing love. I want to wash her face with warm water, and give her a princess tiara, but that won’t fill her empty void, that’s only going to get larger as she matures.

It’s simple but it’s not.

The way that she has low expectations. She expects to be happy, to let her own laughter nourish her soul, to let the sun that beats down through the pine trees in her backyard allow a smile to come across her face. She expects a hug a day, and turns to me. I pick her up and spin her around, feeling full to the brim with love, by the animated excitement in her eyes.

It’s simple but it’s not.

The way that it’s only going to get worse over time. As she ages more, she’s going to need more complex things. She’s going to need a mom to teach her about her body, about boys, and about how everything can be so dangerous. She’s going to need a father to scoop her up in his arms at the end of a long school day, and when the man in her life leaves her hanging.

I can see myself in her eyes. And all I can do is love her to pieces, and play airplanes with her.

by imperfect


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