This post was supposed to go up last night but well, the best laid plans and all of that, right? So here is the story now. It is a short one, written by Daphne. Enjoy!
A red candle – the color of spilt blood – sits in the window. There’s a new one there every evening – rain or shine. Mama lights them for my father – believing it will lead him home to us again. She says one night he will see that candle in the distance and because of its light, he will find his way back. She’s also a devout Catholic if that explains anything. And she’s still madly in love with my father after all these years.
As for me, I don’t remember much about my Dad. He was a photographer by trade which meant there are few pictures of him – he was always on the wrong side of the camera. But Mama has shown me many of the photos he took and says his most favorite quote in the world was “Say Cheese”. Mama says you never knew when he would suddenly snap a picture of you because he liked catching people in unguarded moments. There’s even one picture of Mama nursing an infant me. Strange, but true. Her expression conveys so much in that moment and I guess that’s what he was going for. He didn’t like phony, practiced smiles that you see in other people’s birthday photos. He said he wanted to capture a moment in time, not a practiced, contrived situation.
I do remember though that he used to sing me the most haunting lullaby before bed every night. I don’t remember the words and neither does Mama but I can still hear the melodic music haunting me even now.
Mama keeps telling me not to lose the faith that he will return, but I wonder if she ever does herself. She will deny it if you ask but one does have to wonder how she keeps it together. I was four when my dad disappeared and I’m fifteen now. You do the math. That’s a heck of a long time to wait around for a miracle. But don’t ever tell Mama to move on already because she’ll just shake her little index finger at you and scold you.
She lives and dies every night by the strike of the match as it meets the wick of that candle. The minute she lights it, she breathes a bit easier but sadly, I don’t think she realizes that because of all of this, we will both forever remain in limbo.