Her fingers tattoo boredom on the table as she stares blankly out the window. She's given up so much to be here with me and now I'm gone most of the day. I come home at lunch to pick at a turkey sandwich and snap at her before storming into my room. She sticks with it, because this is what mothers do: spend time with their children. She never hugs or kisses me, but look at all the thoughtful gifts she's given me, all the hours of quality time. How could I not know I'm loved?
My body tingles at his proximity, the tiny hairs reaching out greedily for the warmth pulsing just out of reach. He steps forward and wraps me in his arms and I drink him in like rain in my dusty mouth. He crawls in my skin and I hold on as tight as I can, imprinting the foreign sensations in my soul. His mouth on mine fills me with oxygen, bringing life where I was drowning. It's the first time anyone has shown affection to me, the first time anyone has cared enough to touch me at all.
We sit in awkward silence, drops of oil in water. She pokes at her tea bag, wondering where she went wrong. I flick idly at the crumbs on the table and pick up my purse with a sigh. Sometimes I think I should just cut my ties, isolate the hurt to a small scarred area.
But instead I choose to learn. Reach out every day to cuddle my daughter and breathe love across her, so she'll always know. I might not always remember to get her a Valentine's Day card and her birthday present might be a little late, but I never forget to hug her tight and tell her I love her. She knows. Doesn't she?
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For the Indie Ink writing challenge, Kevin Wilkes challenged me with "Motherless child" and I challenged Tobie with "Music means nothing to me."