I remember the day clearly.
My hands fell flat against the cold, opaque pane of glass. Drops of condensation wept beneath them -- an action I couldn't bring myself to do. Perhaps, my hands spared me the duty. In the kitchen, pastries, lemonade, and a cake made themselves awkward guests on our kitchen counter-- an eery way of feigning happiness. They stood out, almost a joke, amidst the swatches of dark fabric filling the room-- except for my mother of course.
She, drew everyone's eye in her vibrant, red, A-line dress. Her breasts struggled to stay inside the black, lace boundary that contained them. It was my father's favorite dress, undoubtably for this very reason. Mamacita, I remember him whispering into her ear as he would slowly kiss the back of her neck, running his hands down the lines of her body, enveloping her waist like a glove. Ooh, gross! I would turn my head, pretending to be embarrassed by the affection. But secretly I loved it, and would give anything in the world to see that sight at this moment--to simply put an end to all of this.
My mother informed the guests to follow suit with her color choice. Dress in color, celebrating his life. It's what he would have wanted, she smiled through the tears of every phone call she made. After about the fifth call, I ran upstairs and pulled the covers over my head, knowing at any moment my father would walk through that door and all this nonsense would be over. Only a couple of people complied with my mother's wishes of vibrancy. Most, however, fell in line with old Catholic tradition. This, however, didn't seem to sway my mother. She kept to her script.
She was comfortable with scripts. Every evening before tucking me in she would tell me a story of a beautiful female angel who fell in love with a mortal male. The day came when it was her beloved's time to die. She cried out for God to save him, refusing her heavenly duty of escorting him to the other side. God answered her prayer, but at a heavy price. She was cast from heaven and made human, never more to use her gifts of the heavenly realm. However for her, it was worth the sacrifice--the promise of growing old wrapped in her beloved's arms, exploring the Earth hand in hand.
The night my mother told me the news of the explosion, I had a dream she was that angel -- sacrificing herself for my father.
She had ended each of our nightly sessions with a lullaby she had crafted only for me. Now this is our secret song, she warned me with a lovely warmth to her voice. Don't sing it to anyone else. Not even daddy. I curled my pinky around hers and she kissed it gently, sealing the promise.
Today I broke that promise. Like a dog waiting for its owner's return, I pressed my face against the window by the front door, whispering the lyrics she taught me under my breath. I pictured myself curled up beside my father, singing him our lullaby- hoping he might hear them and find his way home: My little angel, sent from above. Whenever you need me, you'll find a heart filled with love, I breathed into the glass by the front window, leaving a circular pattern that faded as quickly as it came.
to be continued...