Wednesday, November 23, 2011
A Kiss Good Bye
They were hollowing out the pumpkin for the center piece when his six year old brought up the subject.
"Pumpkins are for Halloween, not Thanksgiving."
He grabbed a fistful of pumpkin guts and pulled them out of the defenseless gourd, flinging his hand to remove the sticky, stringy bits.
"The pilgrims had pumpkins at the first Thanksgiving. It will look nice on the table with some corn and apples."
She began to squish the guts with her hands, pulling at the seeds.
"Are you going to carve a face?"
He shrugged his shoulders.
"I don't know. Maybe I'll carve a leaf. Or a turkey."
He thought about that last remark. How the heck do you carve a turkey into a pumpkin? He guessed he could trace his hand on the side and then cut out the bits. The two of them sat silently as he continued his work.
"Mommy won't be here, will she?"
The knife slipped out of his hand, piercing his palm. A shallow cut erupted, bright scarlet mixing in with the pale orange meat. He pulled his hand up to his mouth, sucking on the blood in order to keep from cursing.
"No, she won't. She'll be in Paris. With Johnny."
"Texas. Down south."
He checked his palm. No more blood. He looked over at his daughter to see two large tears sliding down her cheek. He gently brushed them away with one finger.
"It's ok, it's only a scratch. I'm fine."
She tried to talk, tried to take a breath, could only shake her head.
"It's my fault Mommy's gone, isn't it?"
The shock of that statement made him draw in a shallow breath. He reached over and pulled her on his lap.
"God, no, honey. Why would you think that?"
Words fought with sobs to escape from her throat.
"Be cause the last time I saw her I didn't do what she said and she got mad and she took me to school and she didn't even kiss me good bye she just left me there and she never came back. And now she's in Paris without me."
He held her as tight as he could, fighting his own tears. Fucking bitch! It was bad enough she had broken his heart, was it really necessary for her to break their daughter's too? He took a deep breath to steady himself.
"You didn't do anything to make Mommy leave. Mommy left, because Mommy wasn't happy with herself. I know that's hard to understand, but it's true. It was nothing you did."
An enormous sob erupted out of that tiny face as she turned towards her father.
"But she didn't even kiss me goodbye! I didn't get a kiss goodbye!"
She collapsed against her father, her body spasming with grief. His own grief overflowed, soaking her hair. The pumpkin sat on the table amongst its own debris.