As the sun gave way to the evening.
There was no doubt in her mind that this day was darker than any other.
She sat in the corner of the room, an empty shell of herself, alternating between wringing her hands and looking out of the window.
The rolling drumbeat of the rain echoing from outside were enhanced by her tears, tears that seemed to have no end.
Despite her best efforts, she was powerless to escape from the labyrinthine maze of her thoughts.
Truth be told, she had come a long way from alternating between wails of grief, to collapsing on the floor in a heap and now she sat here, stoically.
Acceptance was beckoning, and it was at this point that she begrudgingly began to welcome it.
She couldn’t believe that he was gone, she’d just saw him hours earlier – he said he would be right back.
Her thoughts wandered back to the events of a couple hours ago.
Her Father had to head into town to take care of some business.
While waiting for his ride he gathered his children around him while his wife looked on from the front door of the house – as he delegated duties that were to completed before he got back.
He pivoted quickly, to look at the older children, his two daughters.
He pushed his hat up from his eyes, fixed his stare on the both of them and asked:
“You heard what I said, right?”
“Yes sir,” the sisters echoed back.
He gave them both a knowing smile and a quick wink.
He leaned to side to blow his wife a kiss and took a couple of steps back as the car driven by their cousin came clattering to a stop in front of the house.
The door swung open and he slid into the seat.
Just as the swirling dust summoned by the old jalopy settled – another car of other family members came to a sudden stop behind them, kicking up a fresh round of dust from the old country road.
The children, nonplussed and immune to the swirling clouds enveloping them, surrounded the cars and shouted pleasantries while the cars idled.
“I’ll see y’all in a few”, the Father shouted from the lead car as it stuttered and stalled before eventually rumbling off.
“Bye, bye Daddy.”, shouted the children in unison, while running behind the cars as they sped off towards town.
Her father was held in high regard, he was among a handful of Black landowners in this small Alabama town.
Like his Father and Grandfather before him, his presence commanded a respect that the stench of Southern racism was forced to wrestle with.
But on this day, he didn’t make it into town.
The car stalled on the tracks and was struck by an oncoming train.
The family members in the car behind them were spared, but they bore witness to horror of the event unfold and something inside of them died with them.
The only thing she could remember from their recollection was:
“They couldn’t get out.”
Had she known that this was to be his last journey, she would have hugged him tighter, but now the reality of her Father being gone was weighing on her.
As the thunder boomed outside, she was jarred back to attention, cognizant of the walls in this darkened room closing in on her.
And with that she rose to her feet, unclear of the how, but knowing that she had to forge her own path from a wilderness of uncertainty.
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