You were not there when the membranes touched. You did not see. You do not know. The membranes touched. They did not collide. They did not pass harmlessly through each other. They did not bounce off each other.
They touched. That’s all. A simple touch. Like you would touch the cheek of your loved one with your fingertips. The two membranes touched. Ours, and theirs.
You did not see what happened. The way reality shattered. Like a window someone threw a rock through. A small piece of the sky disintegrated. Radial lines surrounded it, shards of sky, and clouds. And through the gap, through the hole, where the rock passed through, I saw her.
My daughter. My daughter I buried thirty-five years ago. Whose tombstone I told a thousand stories to. And cried a river full of tears before. She was there. Her fingers grasped the jagged edges of the hole, and tried to pull it open more. She pressed her face against the opening, as if trying to see more of our world, our reality.
And she spoke. I heard her whisper, “Oh, Daddy, please be there. Please be where I can see you on last time.”
I don’t know why, but I screamed, as loudly as I could. Louder than I knew I could, “Here I am! I’m down here!”
My daughter heard my cry. I saw her searching, looking downward, trying to spot me. Trying to see me. I jumped, waved my arms, laughed, cried, and screamed, “Here! Down here!”
She stopped searching when she found me. She stared straight at me, and I heard her. The voice of my child. Gone for thirty-five years. “It is OK, Daddy.” I swear she smiled. I could see it in her eye. “It is OK. I’m OK.”
“I never got the chance to tell you good-bye. Never got the chance to tell you I was leaving. For a different world. A different place.”
I sank to my knees, looking at my child through that hole in reality. Through that fractured place in the window that is life. And she spoke to me. “I miss you. I wanted you to know. I miss you. And I’m so sorry we fought.”
I’d always said the words, countless times, on endless days, in the ice and snow, or the sweltering heat, it didn’t matter. I always spoke the words to my child, where she rested in the ground. “It was my fault. All my fault. I started the fight. I said the words that hurt you. The words that put you in that car. The words that made you drive that night.”
I reached to the sky, to my daughter, “I didn’t know. I didn’t think. And you were gone.” I felt my tears once more. “It was all my fault. All my fault.”
Her voice spoke again, through that hole in the world, “It was mine to, Daddy. I knew not to drive. But I did anyway.” I saw her close her eye, “I had to find you. Had to see you. Talk with you. Daddy. I’m so sorry we had to fight like that. So sorry I didn’t get to say good-bye.”
She blew a kiss through the fractured sky, “I love you, my father. I need to let you know I’m OK. And happy. And I miss you.” My daughter cried. I saw a tear fall from her eyes, through the fractured sky above. And in a flash of lightning, the shattered window was mended. And my child was gone.
And I stood beneath that place, where she had been, while the sky grew dark, and it rained.
You weren’t there. You didn’t see what happened. You can’t understand, I know.
But I know she is alive. In a place where she is happy. The happiest she has ever been. And I know, someday. When my time here, in our world, comes to an end. I will see my beloved daughter once again.
And I will finally get to tell her I’m sorry.
This is written for Week 50 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. I think I need a drink after this. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. And many of them are amazing.