Fresh new curls wrapped tight like metal coils.
Skin rubbed raw, lavender soap staining her pores.
Teeth scrubbed clean, once, twice, three times just to be sure.
Crisp white shoes.
She wanted everything to be perfect for him.
The old cracked leather stuck to her thighs as she waited.
Out the window one car, then another, a red truck, a yellow jeep.
Trophies and awards packed away, clothes folded, bags packed.
Time ticks by and still no word.
“He’s not coming” is the voice in the back of her mind.
But she doesn’t listen, she makes it small,
Barely a whisper.
He wouldn’t, he couldn’t, he promised.
“He’s not coming” is her mother’s voice.
Maybe if he had stopped.
Maybe if he hadn’t kept going.
Maybe if he didn’t tell her that he was still coming.
Maybe if he hadn’t lied.
Maybe that little girl would believe him.
Maybe she wouldn’t still be sitting on that couch.
Maybe she could have been a little girl for just a little longer.
Maybe that wouldn’t have been her last day being a little girl