The tears slid down my cheeks, turned aside from pretty straight lines by the tinted, too large sunglasses I wore. He'd given them to me at grandma's, and I knew they weren't really his to give.
I hated them because I knew they'd been hers. But I wore them because they made him happy. When he was happy, he didn't take so many pills. Sometimes, if he forgot the pills for long enough, he even laughed and seemed enough like Daddy again that I could be his little girl.
The window of the car fogged cold around my cheek, and it should have been raining outside, but it wasn't. The sun faded into the horizon on the drive from Mayfield to Paducah, and I couldn't take my eyes off it.
Sunsets on Sundays made me sad.
I was seven years old, going on 12. 12 was important, I knew. He explained it to me often: When I turned 12, I would be a grown up, and I could choose to come and live with him. He was so sad, and he needed me. I knew he needed me. More than Mama did.
I heard M. playing with her dolls in the back seat, and I wished Elvis would stop playing on the radio. And I wanted desperately to turn off my brain, just long enough for it to stop hurting.
We'd go to his house before he took us back to her house, he promised. I didn't need to cry. It would only be two weeks before we'd do this again.
In my most secret place, I think he liked it when I cried, because it meant I felt his pain, too. There was so very much pain in him. It sliced through me whenever we were together -- so much that I was afraid to touch him.
One of us might shatter.