I shake my head in agreement. Scaling the iron gate, we ran as fast as our long, but thin legs could carry us.
Taking several sharp turns and nearly stumbling down a grassy hill, we meet our destination. Daddy’s blue eyes sparkled in greeting from his place under the long abandoned bridge.
“Hey, little one” My dad’s smug voice brings a smile to slip onto my dirty face
I run towards my father, wrapping my arms around his slender frame in a hug that I wanted to never end. But that was only in the dreams that I had that were not nightmares,
I felt Daddy’s scratchy chin graze my head. He had a head full of messy, blond hair that he barely ever combed, but he was never the man to have facial hair. Mama didn’t allow her men to have too much hair anyway. But Daddy looked grown up. Not like the delinquent he was when I was born.
Daddy changed from the normal orange prison suit to stolen cargo shorts and a shirt with a logo on it that I did not recognize. He smelled like he hadn’t showered in two weeks. Yet, it was still better than his I-killed-a-man-and-bathed-in-his-blood kind of smell.
“We need to go, Anthony!” My mother scolded Daddy
“Right,” he mumbled, pulling me away from the embrace with a guilt stricken face, “Let’s go”
As I released my grip from around my father’s waist, I turned around and noticed my mother doubling over in pain. Before I could ask what was wrong, my father scolded me and said “She’s fine!” as he tugged sharply at my arm and said to “keep going”
The three of us ran as fast as we could. We heard sirens in the far distance. I was scared. I didn’t want Daddy to be in jail again. I loved him.
“Brooke, honey,” Daddy told me tenderly, “if something goes wrong, I want you to go to 2839 West Street. Can you remember that?”
“Yes sir. 2839 West Street” I repeated
“Good girl,” Daddy praised, patting my head like a small child or dog, “now let’s go”
My parents gave each other a swift kiss, then we continued onto our run out of the small city.
Minutes turned into hours.
As I gazed upon the shining stars, I took a guess at what time it was. Looking around, I made a guess of two in the morning. I looked down from the loft to see my mother smiling in her one-time peaceful sleep.
During our run, we took shelter in a dilapidated barn. Lucky for us, it was mid-June so we didn’t have to worry about us freezing to death over night.
I was above my parents in the loft. Watching Daddy hold Mama again was a dream come true. I felt like their guardian. Watching over them when times fell hard. Watching from the heavens.