Brand New Day

055Yesterday was cold. Today, it was warmer, so I took a walk outside. I found a tiny puzzle piece in the woods. It looks like a tree or a bird or a dinosaur, but I couldn’t be sure. So I took it home and let it roost on the window sill, where it’s become a speck of dust and a black hole.  I brought it to Salome. Although the newness of it made her happy, initially, she was weeping on the hardwood floor within moments. “Daddy, it’s evil.” “”What do you mean, evil, sweetie? It’s just a puzzle piece. I think it’s kind of pretty” She glanced pensively between me and the puzzle piece, rubbing her eyes, only sure that something was very wrong. Finally, she batted those spidery lashes she’d borrowed from her mother and gave me a long, hard look. “It’s from mommy.” Shocked, I glanced back at the puzzle piece. As I looked down, it transformed from a puzzle piece into the torn scrap of a blue jacket. “Sweetie,” I muttered, “it can’t be mommy. Mommy left us two years ago.” A warm spring of tears bubbled from my eyes. I didn’t want to remember that chilly October night as the glacier of winter rolled over our autumnal playground. I couldn’t face that long night in the driveway, all the flashing lights and blue uniforms and barbed question marks. Salome climbed into my lap. “Daddy, you have to stop going back there,” I couldn’t help it. Each week I would walk in a daze to that desolate spot in the woods, like a bee retracing the scent of horror. Each time I would see her body bent and broken. The blood. God, the blood. And wish that I could pour acid into my mind and dissolve the pictures. “I know, sweetie. I know.” She smiled a sheepish, wiser than her years smile. “You will, daddy. When the time is right, you won’t ever go back.”


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