I grew up in a great neighborhood in Detroit. We were the last few blocks before leaving the city. We knew the neighbors well and they knew us. Kids played in the yard and in the street, and everybody looked out for them. We moved there when I was around one, sometime before my twin brothers were born. We lived there until just a few months before I started high school when we moved to a neighboring city.
One of my favorite memories was waiting for my dad after work.
My dad worked for the Board of Education in a nearby high school. He worked during the day, so he'd get off work around 3:00pm and it only took him minutes to get home. He took the same route home everyday - driving through the park and turning left on to our street.
Everyday during the summer, at just after 3:00pm, my brothers and I would grab our bikes (or sometimes just walk) down to the corner to wait for him. Everyday we would sit there, waiting as patiently as children can, our eyes fixed on the park, waiting for the first glimpse of his car. As he drove closer, we'd all get in ready position and as soon as he'd make the turn on our street, we were off!! Everyday we would race dad home.
There were days that my brothers didn't want to go with me to the corner. I'd go alone, and wait for my dad. Sometimes he'd beat me home, sometimes he'd let me win. He mostly let me win.
I can still picture his face as he rounded the corner, always smiling at us. I can still feel the excitement of the race. It was a big deal.
It's been over 12 years since we moved away from that house. So much has changed. My parents are no longer married. My dad is remarried. I haven't seen my dad in over a year. We've been home for almost three months and I have not seen him. Somehow we've gotten to this place where we don't communicate. Not just me, but he doesn't communicate with any of his children the way he used to.
I still get excited, just a bit, when I see he calls or when he texts, as rarely as it happens. I feel like that little girl standing on the corner, just waiting for a glimpse of her daddy. I wait a lot more these days than I did when I was little, but I still wait. I know he'll come, eventually.
I drive by our old house sometimes. It's my happy place, I guess. We were happy there. I drive past that corner and smile, remembering.
My dad still works at the same school he worked at 12 years a go. I sometimes wonder if he drives past our old house, where we were happy, and think about us. I wonder if he drives past that corner and smiles, remembering.
I hold on to the hope that he does.