He left when I was eleven. He just walked away from the life he had with us. That was it: there was no separation, no divorce to follow, nothing. I woke up that sticky summer day and wandered downstairs for breakfast. Before I even reached the bottom of the stairs, I knew something was wrong. The house was too quiet, the air felt too stale. Life felt too still.
I pushed open the door to the kitchen, only half expecting to find my mom and dad and sister there, but if they had all been there, it would have sounded like a circus, as it usually did first thing in the morning. And it didn't. My throat went dry, and I didn't really feel like I was a part of my own body. But rather, small, tingly parts of it. I found my mom sitting on a barstool at the kitchen counter, crying softly. She was bent over a cup of green tea, because that's all she would drink in the morning, crying. I paused, I didn't know what to do. I was sure she hadn't heard me come in, and she was quite obviously in a different world than I. My eleven year old brain couldn't process the weirdness of that morning already, and I had been awake less than five minutes. Someone must have died, that's what i thought. My mom turned to me, a piece of paper in her hand. "You're dad finally left. He's gone." That morning was ten years ago.