his little girl's hand is sticky and vanilla sweet in his giant man paw, and he likes the way she fits perfectly in his palm, just like she did when she was a baby. Now, she has pigtails the color of straw under the summer sun instead of colorless wispy curls, and her eyes are actually open so you could see the bright blue color, but she is still just the same as she'd been breaths away from her first cry.
that's what everyone at the hospital called her. They didn't think she was alive when his wife's labor pains struck. They swore up and down that she wasn't going to make it. They said they thought the wife would make it out alive, but he didn't like their worried glances. And yet, here she is. Holding his hand, skipping down the walkway, singing a little song to herself. A miracle, standing right beside him, and if he squints his eyes just right, all is good and perfect in the world.
if only it could stay that way.
he feels the moment she sees the woman standing by the resturant door; she strains at his hand like a dog pulls at a leash to reach the forbidden fruit. "Careful, baby," he says quietly. "We need to walk slower."
he speaks quietly because he doesn't want the woman to hear him. She'll only smirk; he knew she would know he was only holding her back for just a little more time...
"Mom!!" The miracle breaks free and rushes to the open arms of her mother. "I missed you!!"
did he get greeted that way?
Honestly, he couldn't remember. Every time he saw her, it was like the sun was rising ten feet away, and that left no memory for words or first impressions.
the woman waves half-heartedly. "Hey."
"Hey." This is what it has come to, he thinks. Stagnant words said with stagnant faces. The giddy smiles and shy hand-holding had long since vanished, long before the miracle ever arrived.
the miracle had been the beginning of the end.
she grabs his hand and pulls him down on his knees, to her level, so her perfect shining pools of ocean blue look right into his boring brown eyes. "Daddy..." she asks softly. "Are you staying for supper?"
he squeezes her tiny hand in his, once more relishing how perfectly she fits. "Of course, sunshine. I'll always stick around for you."
"Yay!" And then she is gone again, grabbing at the woman and holding tight to her. "I wanna sit with mom!!!"
every exclamation point is like an arrow to his heart.
she is never like this with him.
so separation even touches the miracles in life.