After the door was closed

My Mom left my Dad the summer I was 6. I’d known it was coming long before she sat me down and told me. I could hear the tearful conversations after I was in bed (not sleeping). I knew I no longer caught them kissing in the kitchen.

We stood in the garage, in between the gray Ford Torino that was now Mom’s and whatever car was in the left side of the cluttered garage. My Dad hugged me. He cried. My legs wrapped around his waist. My arms around his neck.

The next morning, when I opened my eyes, I saw my room, I saw my white kitchen cabinet my grandpa had built for me.

I blinked, and it was gone. Replaced by the twin bed my mom slept on with the chenille bedspread that matched mine. The window looked out on the north side of the yard of my grandparents’ house. Oh right. I lived here now.


Today Scout swapped the carseat to the truck to take Alex out for a drive (Put your hands up in front of you like you are holding a steering wheel. Now shake your hands up and down and you have the Alex sign for “drive”) in the “beeeeeg tuck!”

I carried Alex out to the garage. His legs wrapped around my waist, his arms wrapped around my neck. Scout took him and settled him for the daddy outing. I stood by the gray Impala that is called “mine”.

I stood there a second, then walked inside, all the while trying to flick away the uncomfortable answers to the question I had never once thought of . . .

What did Dad do after Mom and I drove away? After he turned and walked out of the garage, all alone and closed the door?