Windshield: A Walk Down Memory Lane
“Did you finish?”
“No, we don’t have time. It’s at sixty-four percent.”
“Caitlin, you know what we’re up against! We can’t stall this long. As it is, we’re pushing time. We’re definitely going to have to fight our way out.”
“It’s not fair. This isn’t what I wanted for her.”
“Do you think I thought much different when I married you? When we became parents? But we accepted the risks, babe. We knew.”
The large blue eyes that had never missed anything swung to the shadowed corner of the living room, unusually shiny. Like there were tears in them. But that was silly; Mommy never cried. She glided across the hardwood floor and knelt, taking the small, soft hands. Her own hands trembled.
“Hey, Go-go, what’re you doing awake? It’s late.”
“You and Daddy are being really loud.”
She looked back and the huge man with big, warm hands came forward, cradling his hands around the small, soft face. He smiled just a little. His smile was usually much bigger than that.
They were being weird tonight.
“Go-go, listen to me. Mommy and Daddy have to go away for a while.”
“What? Why? Where are you going?”
She released a long, trembling breath and a glistening tear rolled down her cheek. Had she hurt herself?
“We’re going to...stay with some friends for a little while. They need help with something. We don’t know how long it will take.”
“Can I come with you?”
He bit his lip and his little mustache shook. He shook his head slowly. “No, baby. I’m afraid not. Nana is coming to take care of you until we get back, okay? She’ll be here when you wake up. I hear she’ll even be making you your favorite blueberry waffles in the morning.”
“I like the way Mommy makes them.”
A shrill beep sounded from the other side of the house. He straightened and crossed the room in long strides. His fingers flew across the keyboard with deafening clicks. He sighed as he extracted the bright blue square from the computer only they were allowed to touch.
“We have to go.”
“Hey,” She reached around her neck and unclipped the beautiful silver necklace that had always hung around her neck. The heavy obsidian leaf, wrapped delicately in twisting silver laurel branches, spun gracefully at the loop. “Will you take care of this for me, Go-go? Can I depend on you to do that?”
“Yes, Mommy. When will you be back?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know.”
“I’m coming.” She kissed my forehead. “I love you.”
She turned and ran out the front door, hooking her hand through one of the black backpacks that were always stationed beneath the bench by the door. Daddy looked back at me, slinging his own backpack across his shoulders. He was crying, too.
“Go back to bed, sweetheart. Nana will be here soon.” He backed outside. “I love you, too, baby. Don’t ever forget that Mommy and Daddy love you.”
The door shut with an ominous click.