I always liked the little one in the dresses best. She was the one who named me. She called the bigger one with the large belly daddy.
Each night I sat on the windowsill and watched as her daddy pulled her in his lap on her favorite pink rocking chair. He looked at the black and white pages of a book as they rocked gently back and forth. I heard words and saw the light in her blue eyes as he read. Words, words, cat, blue, orange, grass, food, happy, sad, daddy.
The years passed and things changed. The windowsill was dustier. She didn’t fit so well in his lap anymore, so she sat cross-legged on the floor. His stomach was bigger and the pink chair had faded. She still wore dresses and the light in her eyes was the same as she listened.
Then, as I watched the sun set yellow and orange, the chair was empty. Sooner or later, it was most nights. More nights. Every night.
She still wore dresses and called him daddy but I had to look close for the light.
One night as I watched from my windowsill I saw them on the outside steps.
I wondered why he was holding her shoulders, why the sky was getting darker and why her eyes were, too. I wondered why he kissed her forehead and how the big metal thing he drove away in went so fast. Why she flounced onto the grass, staring, pulling up the grass with her small fingers like she was pulling up all that was right in the world – happy. Sad.
Why her eyes could look so blue and perfect and sad when she stared at the black road.
I heard two words that day. One was goodbye. I heard that one sometimes when the taller one that looks like her leaves the house or when people pass on the street outside.
The other one I heard was daddy. I’d heard it many times before, but I never heard it again.