She stops in the middle of it all
You’ve got this.
“Close your eyes,” I say in my most mystical, calming voice.
“Daddy is in the trees.”
I crumble some dirt into her palms, “He’s in the soil beneath our feet. He’s in all the flowers and plants; he’s in the air we breathe, and in the light from the sun that warms our skin. He’s in every moment shared between you and me. Daddy’s stardust, just like every living thing.”
I touch her face, she opens her eyes.
I smile, “Can you see him?”
She squints and sniffs, her knees bobbing, “No.”
“Can you feel him?”
She sighs through her nose, loud and impatient, “You can just tell me if he’s dead you know. I’m not gonna cry about it.” She drops the dirt and brushes her hands against her jeans.
“Oh…Ok. Well -”
“Ugh, never mind,” she continues walking, “you take forever.”
I take a few steps and catch her shoulder, “It really doesn’t upset you?”
She turns to me, bright eyes and set mouth with a slight upward curl at the ends, “No Momma.”
“But – I mean that’s good! That’s good, I’m glad, but…why? Why not?”
She holds my hand, like I hold hers when I’m about to make her feel real stupid, “Cause I met him in a dream.”
God knows I tried to stop my eyebrows from raising, my mouth from forming a silent ‘Ohhh’ as I tried to keep my head from tilting back.
She sighs and drops my hand.
“No no, wait wait wait wait wait, just a minute!”
“You don’t believe me.”
“Bae, I just told you your Daddy’s in the doggone trees not a minute ago, of course I’mma believe you. What was your dream?” I swallow, “W-what did he say?”
She stares at me, observing something I didn’t want her to see, “How did he die?”
I wasn’t aware I was shaking my head until she spoke again, “Will you ever tell me?”
She holds my hand a little tighter and I want to cry.
“Ok,” she swings our hands, starting to walk, “I can wait.”
I crouch and turn her towards me, trying for but a whisper to ask her again.
She touches my face, I close my eyes, “He smiled and we played, then he told me he loves us. And then I woke up.”
She kisses my forehead and snuggles my neck.
I scoop her up and continue our walk, the sun warming our skin.