in the darkness
can you see
_ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Saturday. A grey morning. The air a dry, sharp, and prickly that one could only experience first thing in the morning.
Heavy clouds spread across the sky with the promise of rain, not a tiny ray of sunlight in sight.
Jace drove steadily on the quiet pebble-coated road. A wisp of grass punched the asphalt cracks. Tall, barren trees crooked and twisted together, hovering over the surface.
As he passed through the droughty tunnel, winds whispered through the uneven, withered branches, their leaves resting on the earthy ground.
Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" plays on the radio:
♪ ♫ ♪
♪ How can I just let you walk away? ♪
♪Just let you leave without a trace ♪
♪ When I stand here taking every breath, wit- ♪
He unconsciously pressed the volume control button to increase the volume as he began to think about the past.
"Haha! Stop it!" laughed Irvana, her hands blocking her face.
"No, stay still. I'll take just a few selfies together," Jace persisted.
"I hate these things!" she complained, burying her face in his neck.
"Relax. I told you before: you're photogenic." She leaned in for a kiss and snatched the camera from him as soon as their lips touched.
She shrugged, a satisfying smile on her face. "Come one, show me your best pose. 'I've told you before, you're photogenic' "She added the last bit in mimicking voice.
"Only for you, babe. Come on, sm-"
"-ad… DAD!" shouted the little girl from the back of the car.
♪ ♫ ♪
♪ -walk away? ♪
"Yes, sweetheart." He stole a glance at the rearview mirror. She crossed both arms across her chest, her long curls covering part of her face.
♪Just let you leave without a trace. ♪
He pressed the volume control button again, and the music faded in the background.
♪ When I stand here taking every breath, with you, ooh ♪
♪ You're the only one -♪
"I'm sorry, babe." He apologized with an awkward smile. "I got a bit distracted."
"It's okay, daddy." She uncrossed her arms and pulled Fuzzy next to her.
"So, what is it you wanted to ask me?"
"When are we going to see mommy?" She hangs the stuffed bear in the air. "Fuzzy misses her very much."
He raised an eyebrow as he held back a laugh.
"Is that so? Only Fuzzy, uh? I think your mom will be quite disappointed if she hears about this."
"Of course, I miss her too." She pouts.
"Hahaha! We'll get there soon."