37.

The child and father, by the park where the dead leaves sway. He says slow down, you might fall, but she pays no heed. In fact, a sulk made, arms crossed.

You don’t love me, she says.

That’s what you claim to believe, he replies, seemingly undaunted by the statement.

How have you?

He blinks gently, the lips that curl. My child, he whispers as he took her little hands into his large ones. Listen closely.

My eyes, they watch over you. It’s your shoulder I hold, I read you bedtime stories to sleep. New ways I find to tie your shoelaces and your scarf. Mouthing hello and goodbye from across your kindergarten street. I love you, my child, by giving and taking away.

Her little hands are torn away from his large ones. Tears brim in beady eyes, hands that shake involuntarily.

If you loved me, she sobs at last. Why would you take away?

My child, you know not what you want, he says as he knelt on the ground beside her. Do you trust that I love you?

Eyes that exchange glances. In the quiet. Words, they came to life.

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