I gave Daddy his picture.
"I love you, Michaela... You know that, right?"
He didn't like it. He said it was a bad drawing. After he crumpled it up, he threw it at me and told me to get better before I ever showed him anything else again.
"Right, Daddy," whispered the brunette, leaned against the headboard as her father bandaged her lip after examining her ribs. None were broken, but the whole right side of them were bruised. That was okay, though. No one would be lifting up Michaela's shirt anyway to see them. And her lip...
"You fell down the stairs, right, Honey?"
"But you're alright, right?"
The dark-haired man smiled and leaned over to kiss his daughter on the forehead as he finished up the bandage. "I love you, Darling."
That made me cry because I put a lot into that drawing. We were holding hands. There was a rainbow and we were all smiling.
"Love you too, Daddy," the child murmured, eyes on her pink and purple bedspread, a design of unicorns and rainbows. When he said goodnight, she repeated it with "Daddy" tagged on the end. Upon the door shutting, the child pulled her blankets back and lifted her shirt. He did a sloppy job of covering the bruises. In fact, she could see most of them. She removed the bandages, since they helped none with bruises, and poked one of the blue-and-purple spots. Although it hurt and she inhaled sharply, she did it again with a wince.
He didn't care, though. He said it was "a piece of shit" and sent me to my room. I thought it was pretty. I smoothed out the paper and taped the drawing to my wall. Maybe if I put it above my head at night, it would come true. We would all be happy.
Any movement she made caused a twinge of pain in her ribs and she glanced to the door, longing to walk out and never return.
It's a really hard thing to imagine. I just want everything to be okay again.
Her father didn't read her a story or sing this time. Something else was on his mind.
Michaela couldn't remember if she ever saw her mother get back up when her father stood with a bloody fist.
It didn't matter. The brunette sunk down into her bed with a sigh and closed her eyes. Maybe she'd wake up to waffles if her father was normal again tomorrow.