The road was cold, sprinkled with evergreen trees, and the cars were scarce. The evening sky was a winter purple, a perfect night for snow. Two hours ago, my biggest concern had been whether or not I would be able to sleep in tomorrow morning. Now, it's whether or not I’ll see their trademark red and blue shimmering behind us.
I can hear the banging in the trunk.
Daddy, I don’t want them to take you away.
I hold my breath like the person in the trunk, motionless, breathless. I wait until my vision gets blurry, then my mouth flies open, and I’m sucking in as much air as I can.
He's staring ahead. I know he won't dare look me in the eye. It doesn’t matter anyways, even if he tried, I wouldn’t be able to look into his. The windows are clean and clear, the way she always leaves them.
His eyes are an icy blue, the same as mine. I feel pressure on my chest.
He’s cold and distant because he has to be.
He told me to get into the car. I heard the screaming, I knew what had happened, this time it had gone too far. I pointed my own blue eyes at the wooden floor that I already knew I’d never see again. I can’t lie and say that I never knew that one day, this day would come.
Daddy, daddy, you make it so hard.
I want to love you. I really do, but please, please don't just give me those same excuses.
I glance out the rearview mirror, not a car behind us. We’re home free.
I look at the back of his head, his bushy black and grey hair, and I close my eyes.
I never wanted to wish this on you, understand that, even the times I did, I never wanted this. I can't help but watch those evergreen trees. I am one of them, standing tall until I am taken down. You have made me strong, but I fear I am breaking.
I sit on the cold leather, hands tucked between my jeans and the seat. I take a quick look at him pulling my trembling hands into my lap. My face feels hot, although the car is cold. I slide my fingers over the smooth surface hidden in my palms. The gift you gave me not long ago. Can I take charge?
I tap the receiver 3 times.
I love you.
I turn my head towards the window, glancing at the rearview mirror, tears sliding down my cheeks. I know you can hear my breath getting sharper, shorter.
Daddy, I’m sorry.
This is the first time that I’ve got to sit in the passenger seat. Years of begging, and it’s now. I look down at my feet, my toes are just skimming the black plastic mat on the ground.
Someday I’ll be as tall as him. Feet planted on the ground, having to push my chair back because I’m so tall.
Daddy, I don’t want to be like you.
Or maybe I’ll be this petite little girl forever.
Red and blue flashing down the street.
Maybe I’ll be just like mommy.
“Daddy?” I whisper, “You know you have to pull over.” I can hear the tears in my voice. I can feel his eyes on me, taking me in one last time. His breaths are heavy as he pulls to the side of the road. Two officers come, one to his side, and one to mine. They wait until he’s out of the car to get me out.
“You’re a brave girl, you know that?” The officer says offering me his hand. My legs are numb. I bury my wet face into him, he hoists me up, although I’m much too big to carry. I know my Daddy will watch me with his icy blue eyes, but I won’t look. This will have to be our last goodbye.
You shouldn't have done that, not to mommy.