I see the long cradle that could rock from side to side. Sitting up in it, I couldn’t fall asleep. I kept asking to see the fish. I could only say “fish” and point. I stretched my arms out into my father’s safe embrace. We rode in the car. It was beautiful, blackness and stars during sleepy time. Just a few closed shops blanketed by night. “Look, no fish. All closed.” my father said. I remember being satisfied. I fall asleep, comforted to be near the place where the fish lived. I would see them tomorrow, when the sun came out.
When I got the call that he was gone, I became permanently submerged. How could I still be standing and not struck down. Still be breathing and not shattered into a million pieces.
The past is a wonderful place I visit in my dreams. I see Papa there. My small arms wound tightly around his neck, but this time I want to keep him safe.