[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y first memory of her is in the hospital, she was a newborn. She smelled funny and made the same grunting noises bullfrogs make before you gig them. The nurse told me she was making a stinky in her diaper. I’d never heard it called a “stinky” before. I rather liked that particular turn of phrase.

She wasn’t yet five when Daddy died, she doesn’t remember him. So, she has no idea how much she resembles him; her gait, her toothy grin, her self-effacing humor.

When she got older, she and I delivered the morning paper together. It was the worst job I ever had. We woke at three every morning and threw four hundred newspapers to the western side of the city. Then, we’d watch the sun climb over the Gulf of Mexico, she’d fall asleep in the passenger seat.

The truth is, I’m the closest to a father she’s ever known, unlucky for her, because I was only a boy when Daddy died. I didn’t know how to be parental, much less braid a five-year-old’s hair.

But sometimes, boys turn into adults too damn fast. It’s unfair. Thirteen-year-olds aren’t supposed to be so serious. They’re not supposed to do the laundry, kiss boo-boos, or talk like grown-ups.


Perhaps one day, she and I will get to try it again, in the next world. Maybe up there, second childhoods are handed out at the front door. Maybe I’ll be different. Maybe we’ll laugh more and cry less. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I love you, Sarah.

God help me.

You’re going to have a baby.