Awakening Slumber - A Tale of A Young Girl Shaken From Childhood, Part 1
The Revelation --
“Did your father,” Mom paused, glancing at her hand as she reached for Amber’s. She tenderly clasped her daughter’s fingers within her palm. “Did he, um, tell you why he’s...ah… been...” Mom’s voice cracked, “gone?” Mom’s cool touch interrupted Amber’s surveillance of tiny dust particles dancing in a sun beam and then seemingly disappear into the shadows. The room, softly warmed by afternoon sun, took a somber mood, a stark contrast to the lighthearted memories its walls held.
“No,” Amber involuntarily whispered, troubled by the hesitancy in her mother’s speech. Amber futily attempted to swallow her throat’s growing lump. She had heard her siblings discuss in hushed tones, “Dad…. Mom… phone call… gone… she…who…what will we do?” Her attempts to persuade them to share their discussion were halted condescendingly, “You wouldn’t believe us, and you wouldn’t understand.”
Amber withdrew one of her hands from her mother’s clasp and pushed her hair behind her right ear. The silence grew unbearable as the lump in her throat grew larger. Birds chirping good night mingled with neighborhood parents calling their children to dinner, each unique sound muffling into the other. The crickets and locusts began whirring their night song. Amber’s eyes and right thumb followed a seam unraveling down the center of her parents’ silk duvet, stopping at a tufted button. Her index finger and thumb caressed its circumference, back and forth, back and forth, emitting a barely audible rustle. Amber loved the rough and soft texture of the burnt orange cover, and the perfect weight of down wrapped around her neck and shoulders on nights when slumber was disrupted by nightmares and found her running down the hall and diving into the protection of her parents’ bed. Funny, and painfully ironic, that the same bed that provided her refuge from fear now held her as unimaginable fears cloaked her.
Amber’s father, Len Dahko, was her hero, perfect in her eleven-year old mind - witty, loving, thoughtful and handsome. He hadn’t been home much lately, and when he was, things were chaotic and stressful. Whispered arguments and muffled sobs ensued his late night homecomings, and in the past week, he had packed his clothes and not returned until today. Dad had called Amber to him, telling her, “Mom and I are having some problems, but I want you to know, it’s not your fault and no matter what, everything will be all right.” He kissed her and left with a bag of miscellaneous toiletries he must’ve forgotten during his first “packing”. Whatever the problem was, Amber was confident her parents would work things out – they must. So, Amber had hoped.
Confidence dwindled as Amber searched her mom’s eyes, who now sat next to her on the bed. Unconsciously, Amber stood, an outward expression of not wanting to continue the conversation. Mom sighed, “Honey, I don’t know how to tell you this…” Mom’s eyes searched the corner, as if an answer may be tucked in its crevice. “Your…father…hasagirlfriend.” The words tumbled from her mouth, as if saying them quickly would lessen the pain, like removing an adhesive bandage from your skin. Didn’t work.
Amber sat, numbed by the harsh reality of Mom’s words. “What?” she cried, her heart refusing to accept the unfolding tale of infidelity to her mother, and to her. Tears streamed down her face, itching her skin as they dried.
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