Essay for My Five-Year-Old Daughter

By Michael Torres

September 4, 2017

Essay for My Five-Year-Old Daughter

You wanted me to find you. So I interrogated the avocado tree, searched behind the broken Virgin Mary statue. Finally, I asked the sky for help. Your giggling betrayed you. The tiny house you hid inside of: its roof, the door, even the window and the crater under its shutters, where we decided would be a good place to hold plants that day, was plastic. How strong something brief could be. That day I thought I could be a good father: I gathered the dirt; joined you in pulling weeds from the edge of the lawn; we popped daisy heads off and left their stems hunched and haunting. Then we pressed everything into the earth we made up. I watched you pour the water; how it leapt from the spout. Both of us waited for the soil to soak it up. Our faces close. Next time I visit, I’ll look for our plants—wondering if anything between us could grow. 

When I don't see them, I won’t ask. Instead we’ll draw on scratch paper on the floor of your bedroom. Tens of lilies to be colored. You’ll ask if I’m having fun and offer me mixed nuts from a can. I’ll spend the day drawing your name on pieces of paper. One of them, you’ll take from me and tape crooked to the wall.

Comments (8) - Post a Comment
This hurt my heart in a sweet and beautiful way.
Carol at 7:03pm EDT - September 4, 2017
Thank you for the writing that never betrayed the truth that is beyond speaking. As a divorced father in the 21st century, reading this brought forth a lot of emotional response: love, joy, and a kind of angry frustration at the situations that cause us to be "wondering if anything between us could grow."
Scott at 8:49am EDT - September 5, 2017
So lovely. Thank you.
jen at 9:04am EDT - September 5, 2017
Gorgeous piece, Michael, thank you for sharing. Your piece reminds me why I love flash stories - you can say so much in a few sharp and poignant paragraphs. So much bittersweet beauty here.
Anneli at 7:36pm EDT - September 5, 2017
Michael, this is absolutely beautiful!
Lynn M Swearingen at 7:50pm EDT - September 5, 2017
Lovely images. Powerful messages. Thank you for sharing.
Vana Plaisance at 10:23pm EDT - September 5, 2017
"How strong something brief could be" indeed!
Jenny at 9:33am EDT - September 11, 2017
You held the beauty and the pain in such a childlike way. Simply complex and rich! Thank you for this.
Jane Pettit at 6:25pm EDT - October 8, 2017

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