Christmas At Ground Zero

“You’ll always be,” he stammered, pushing eyeglasses to forehead glasses, mopping up his sloppy tears. Chestnuts roasting on open fires wafted from the overhead speakers.

Flush in his face, flushed down the toilet of refined sentiment. Embarrassing himself again and me for the last time.

“I love her, dad.” I pulled my hand drawstring tight about her hip, snugging us together for a three-legged race down the aisle. “There’s no reason to finish your thought.”

“My little girl,” he calmly stated.

This was no continuation but something new and joyous not maudlin or depressive at all. His glasses fell back on his Rudolphian nose, making him quite the right jolly old elf.

“Go to him!” she prodded, disengaging us and pushing me forward.

I hesitated equidistant between them, crossing like a chicken in a childish joke. We stood there waiting, the three of us, until the boarding call “dinged” and we were shocked out of our state of stasis.

Only then did I run.
Only then did I cry.
Away from him.
Away with her.

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