I remember the night my father left. I was six. My mother told me the news with tears and sobs. My aunt, her sister, was there for hugs and support. We were in the kitchen at a yellow table; we sat on plastic covered seats. The window was open; I could smell chicken cooking next door. I counted the linoleum tiles on the floor as a tear rolled down my cheek. It’s okay to be sad they told me, it’s okay to cry. I didn’t know how to tell them. I wasn’t upset at all. That’s what made me sad.

originally published July 10, 2020