The darkness was impermeable, no amount of tears could wash it away. She ran, with no regard of what lay under her feet or behind her back. The dark night was her sanctuary, a cloak, and it became more lovely than a thicket of wild roses.
The little girl bent close to the holes in the aluminum metal plate. The small holes revealed the sound of her fathers voice, faint and riddled with pain. He’d been incarcerated for a month. The thick slab of glass and painted cement blocks that separated him from the outside world seemed illusory compared to his emotional dissonance. The little girl felt much older than she had a month prior. The vending machine and the coins from her Momma’s change purse became the silver lining she waited for during the whole event. Her father’s eyes conveyed a sadness that seemed other worldly as she waved good bye and peered around the corner, timidly. Her fourth grade school’s D.A.R.E. program officer had been on duty the first time that her mother had made her attend a visit. She might not have internalized the pain quite as much had she not recalled the pride she felt the first time the officer praised her in class for answering his questions correctly. Their first encounter at the jailhouse washed away any sense of accomplishment she’d gained in the classroom setting. She sat quietly, bowing her head and looking away. The officer gently said hello and continued with paperwork in hand.
The child longed to blend into the paint on the blocks. She imagined what it would feel like to be invisible or to be as common as the gray paint that covered the institutions walls. She learned to be filled with longing in a matter of days…no amount of words or silent tears in the nighttime hours could settle her little soul. She remembered thinking that her fathers eyes said everything she felt.