Hide & Seek
Carey Kight | Lakshmy Mathur
The little girl sits on the stoop, waiting and wondering.
Will he want to play? Can we run? Can we hide? Will he seek me?
She adjusts her little pink backpack. It’s heavy. There’s so much to bring and so much to do.
She looks up at her mom, hoping this isn’t one of those times.
The sun sets, beating on the passing cars. His? She gets up, ready.
“Oh, look, Mama, look!” she says. “That one’s red. Is it his?”
“No, sweetie. It’s not his.”
She rests her head on her mom’s shoulder.
Why does he always do this?
Steve’s behind them now, talking on the phone. He’s sad or angry – one of those. She can never tell which, but he’s strong. And he’s there. He’s always there.
“Yeah, it’s — look, man. Just don’t, alright?” he says. “You’re not the one who has to hold her every time she finds out you’re not coming.”
Steve slams the phone onto the receiver.
Oh, no. It is one of those times. It isn’t different.
She climbs the steps back inside into Steve’s waiting arms, and she cries.
There was so much to bring and so much to do.
Why can’t we run? Why can’t we hide? Why won’t he seek me?