When I was seven years old, I killed my father. I didn't shoot him with a handgun I'd found hidden away or stab him to death in a fit of anger. There were no blood-splattered walls for nosey neighbors and thrill-seekers to see. No one came to take me away; in fact there were no police involved at all. But he died and I'm the one who killed him.
My parents had explained, but I didn't believe them. No, I never gave it a second thought, until that Friday when my father started to pack his suitcase. As he put his clothes in, I took them out. "Where are you going," I kept asking.
"Remember Mommy and I talked to you about this Fay?"
I wasn't listening. I just continued to remove his clothes from the suitcase and return them neatly to his drawer. Without warning, my mother picked me up and carried me from the room slamming the door behind me. In the living room, she all but tossed me onto the sofa. With one hand on my shoulder, she leaned down and pointed a finger so close to my face I felt my eyes cross. "You sit there, young lady and leave your father alone. Do you hear me?" Her voice was sharp and mean. My eyes welled. What was wrong with them?
As soon as she moved away, I ran back to the bedroom, but I couldn't get in. So, I sat in the hallway by the door and waited until he came out, lugging his suitcase and golf clubs. He was really going.
"Don't go, Daddy," I pleaded.
He paused long enough to say, "I won't be far away, Magpie." I ran in front of him and walked backwards.
"Then take me with you", I said. "Can I go with you?" When he didn't answer, I was seized with panic and began to cry"I didn't know what to do.
I followed him to the car, close on his heels, crowding him; the bottom of his jacket crumpled tightly in my hand. "Please daddy", I sobbed, "don't leave me."
He peeled my hand from his jacket and swooped me up into his arms. "Daddy has to go now," he whispered, hugging me nearly breathless. "I love you, I love you sooo much." I knew he did. I was so confused. I knew he loved me best of all, so how could he go? I just didn't understand.
I tried to peer into his eyes, where he had taught me the truth lived, but he turned his head away. "You'll still see me," he assured putting me down. "Please don't cry, Magpie."
"Okay, okay," I croaked wiping my face with my sleeve. "Can I go now?"
After he got into the car, I tried frantically to open the door on the passenger's side, but it was locked. With me in tow, he steered the black sedan slowly from the driveway.
"Go in the house", he yelled from the window. He drove faster and I ran behind the car, my feet turning and gathering gravel in my shoes. Like a pet abandoned on a country road, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, trying to keep pace with the car. My foot turned, I tripped and slid, scraping my knees and my hands. Up ahead the car slowed to a stop. He'd changed his mind! I quickly picked myself up, but he drove away, leaving me behind in a cloud of dust.
I limped back towards the house, sobbing and clutching my chest as if I could hold my heart in place. Both my knees were bleeding, my hands were embedded with tiny pellets of gravel and I was covered with dust; I could taste it in my tears at the corners of my mouth. My chest heaved with sobs and exhaustion, choking off my breath and making me cough.