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Listen Here Baby Girl
I close my eyes and I remember being in my mom’s womb; a safe, warm, comfortable place.
“Listen Here Baby Girl,” I heard my father whisper; even inside, I could feel the warmth from his hands. “Daddy’s here and I’ll never leave you.”
I remember when I was just three, running around playing with shiny ‘toys’.
“Listen Here Baby Girl,” Daddy ran over to me, “That knife is sharp; you can hurt yourself.” I was sad to see him take it away, but I figured that Daddy knew best.
I remember when I was four, sticking things in my mouth out of curiosity.
“Listen Here Baby Girl,” He pulled the paper out of my mouth, “You don’t want to eat THAT, it won’t taste very yummy.” He was right, but it didn’t stop me.
I remember when I was five, unable to sleep at night.
“Listen Here Baby Girl; aint no monster under there to come and hurt you.” I could still feel its presence even after Daddy left.
I remember when I was six, gazing at the nighttime sky.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, see those starts up there? Well, you’re my bright star.” At six, I thought it would be the sweetest thing anyone would ever tell me.
I remember when I was seven, too daring to look both ways.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, you have to hold my hand. Cars come fast and they can’t see you.” I obeyed, because Daddy seemed to know everything.
I remember when I was eight, too timid to dive in the water.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, Daddy won’t let you drown. You just gotta jump; I’ll keep you afloat.” He caught me, and I knew I wouldn’t drop to the bottom as long as I was in his arms.
I remember when I was nine, looking outside.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, take a look at those Roses in the backyard. Beautiful, aren’t’ they? Just like you; you’re my blooming rose.” I saw those roses bloom, before I saw them all die.
I remember when I was ten, trying to learn how to ride a bike all on my own.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, I gotta let go now. But you keep peddling, you keep steering that bike. You don’t need me to guide you anymore.” I fell time and time again, but eventually, I got used to it.
I remember when I was elven, listening to my parents fight outside their bedroom door.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, no one’s perfect; especially your mother. I know we get loud, and I know we fight, but don’t you worry. Daddy will fix everything.” Daddy used to make that promise before, but he was never really good with his hands.
And I remember when I was twelve, watching Daddy pack his last suitcase in his truck as my mom cried upstairs.
“Listen Here Baby Girl, sometimes you just have to leave, even when you think it’s hard. But don’t you worry, I’ll visit you on Christmas.” That Christmas, he never came; nor the next; or the one after that.
I woke up on the day of my high school graduation to see Daddy downstairs at the breakfast table, with my mom. Both were proudly smiling at me.
“Listen Here Baby Girl,” Daddy started to explain, but I wouldn’t have any more of his excuses; no more of his lies.
“You Listen Here Daddy.” I told him. “You told me that sometimes people have to leave, but once you disserted me, there was no one left to leave. Then you told me that no one’s perfect, but now I see that people can be perfectly terrible to each other. You told me to keep peddling and steer on my own, but I have no control over this life I had no choice to live. You said I was your rose, but all roses eventually whither amongst their own thorns. You told me to jump, that you’ll keep me from drowning. But I’ve sunk so far down, I’ve forgotten air’s light grasp between my fingertips. You told me to hold your hand, because fast cars couldn’t see me. But now I’m practically invisible to anyone around me. You told me to look up at the night sky, and you called me your bright star. But ever since you left, stars don’t shine no more. You told me to go to bed, that there were no monsters underneath to hurt me. Where were you when the monster was on top of me on top of my bed? You told me not to eat paper, but once you left, all food lost its taste. You told me not to play with knives, but now they’re my only toy, my only comfort. The knives on my arms don’t hurt as much as the memories. Now that you’re gone, I can’t feel pain.”
I ran upstairs and closed my eyes. I remembered being in my mom’s womb, safe, warm, and comfortable. I opened my eyes to see my own corpse in a coffin, safe, warm, and comfortable.
“Listen Here Baby Girl,” I heard my father whisper; even inside I could feel the warmth from his hands. “Daddy’s here. Daddy came back, but you left me.”
La Vergne, Tennessee
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