Erika opened the white door of her suburban Los Angeles home to find an open suitcase and bags being packed. “Dad?”
A tall dark man looked up from a red suitcase he was packing. “Erika? I didn’t know you would be home this weekend.”
“Yea school got out early this week so I took the train home. What’s going on? You and mom going on a trip?” He looked at her, saddened. Her father never looked like that.
“No Erika” He walked over to her, grabbed her by the shoulders, and hugged her. “I’m leaving honey, forever. Mom doesn’t know and there are details I can’t tell you, but I must go.” His grip tightened on her shoulders in attempt to comfort her. In an attempt to tell her sorry after all the years of paternal love he’d given.
“What? Dad, you’re crazy what’s going on?” He let her go. Her forgiveness didn’t stick when his arms pulled away. He gazed into his daughters eyes. She felt moisture start to build up on her eyelids. Tears started to drip. He wiped them.
He pulled his rough fingers away from her eyes. He closed the nearest suitcase and grabbed it by the handle followed by a backpack and a duffle bag he left on the kitchen table. He mounted those on his body as well and walked over to Erika. “Goodbye honey.” He walked out of the front door over to a parked black Prius with a mustache logo that had just pulled up into the driveway. He put his luggage in the backseat, got in the car , gave Erika one final look, and the Prius drove away. Erika wept. She noticed on the door step something had fallen from her father’s bag. She went over to it, and picked it up. It was a photo of a pregnant woman holding on to her belly, and she was holding the hand of another child on her right. Erika flipped the photo. Tears fell from Erika’s face. “Come home to me. Your family needs you.” The photo was stamped with the outline of red lips.