“Goodbye sweet Merissa”,I love you.” David said trying to hold back the tears. He was holding her, knowing he had to let go, but he couldn’t. The attendant was patient. “Do you really have to go, Daddy? Can you stay for just a little while?” David first looked away, took a deep breath and then set Merissa down her feet and squatted in front of her. “Sweetie, I’ll be back before you know it. They have food and toys and kids you can play with and you will enjoy everything.”
“Daddy, what time is it?
“Show me what is looks like on a clock.”
David took out a business card. It was new and this was the first time he had given one out. He drew a circle on the back, and drew the “hands” in the 7:30 postion. Merissa looked at the picture. “Now draw what the clock will look like when you are coming back.” David did. Merissa looked at both pictures and then looked at the clock hanging above the window at the far end of the room at the daycare. “I can watch that clock, daddy, she said as she pointed to it. I’ll be waiting for you.” She seemed happy enough.
David had been thinking about day care for Marissa for several weeks. He knew he had no choice. He and Marissa had stayed home for almost a year as he had tried, unsuccessfully, to hold his building design business together. It just didn’t interest him anymore. After Marissa’s mother, Elaine, had died suddenly, David’s life meant only one thing to him, to live for Marissa.
David, a normally jovial 37 year old architect, had spent almost eight years working from their, now it was only his, home. He had focused his talent on the ornamental exteriors of buildings : making the design distinct while allowing them to complement the existing community’s style.
David’s life had changed forever and he knew would never fully recover. He had known Elaine since the third grade. He had kissed her for the first time in the fifth grade. She was the only girl he had ever kissed…would ever kiss. Elaine, a tall, athletic lady had died instantly from a brain aneurism while playing tennis with Ron one Saturday as Marissa watched. David hadn’t been able to concentrate on anything since her death. For almost a year, he had struggled with his last memory of her and with the knowledge that there would be no more memories of her. Now, with friends’ counsel, he had decided a more structured environment is what he needed to help him piece a life together without his beloved wife. Going to work in an office meant Marissa had to go to day care.
Marissa was a happy go lucky, energetic four year old with her mother’s shoulder length, soft almond colored hair and her daddy’s blue steel eyes. When her mother had died, Marissa didn’t understand everything. She knew she wouldn’t see her mother again and she talk of death as an occupation faraway. “What’s Mommie doing now, Daddy?” “Is she happy where she is? “Is she in charge of any Angels?” The questions to her Daddy seemed as puzzling as the answers: “She’s dancing around in heaven, Marissa.” “Yes, she’s happy Marissa. I don’t know if she is in charge of any Angels Marissa, but I bet she is the prettiest.”
Laying, this last night before his new job, so alone, in a bed still so unbalanced, and thinking so many thoughts, one thought rose above the others. “Elaine”, he asked quietly, “Where are you?” He pondered the question. “Where?” Again, he thought out loud “You were here and I could touch you and hold you and now, I know you are gone, but where? If only I knew your location, I could bear it. I could look at a map and be comforted that you are…that you are somewhere. Tears welled up. He was starting this new job without her. He had never started anything without her. Marissa was going to daycare without her. How he would miss Elaine their daughter grew up. For these past months, he had tried to hold everything in place. No more memories for David. Without Elaine, he did not want to make another memory. And yet, there was still Marissa. So he would lay still and cry quietly and try not cross an imaginary line in their bed where she had, with him, slept for 20 years. Well, this year would have been twenty. He would always say 20 years. Close enough. In the dark, he thought he could hear her soft, even breaths. Reaching across that line would prove he could not. He didn’t want proof. The last thing he wanted was more proof.
David had been explaining to Marissa for a couple of weeks, that he was going to be working in a office like other people and she would be going to a place with girls and boys her own age while he worked. After work, he would come get her, and they would go home together. Yes, they would have food Marissa. Yes they would have toys and yes she would make friends. That morning, Marissa insisted on taking her best friend. Tiggle, a small, fluffy puppy with whom she had slept almost her entire life. Tiggle had white “fur”,floppy ears and a deep blue ribbon around his neck. He was washable.
As David turned to walk away, Marissa dropped Tiggle and the card and bolted after him. The attendant, startled, reach for her and missed. “Don’t go Daddy!”, she yelled. David turned back. He had been warned this might happen and he would have to appear strong. He picked Marissa up, held her tightly and explained, “I have to go Marissa. I will be back when the clock looks like the picture.” The attendant held Tiggle and handed the card to Marissa and Marissa reached for Tiggle. David kissed her on the cheek, kissed Tiggle on the cheek, set Marissa back down and said “love you” as he backed toward the door, blowing kisses the entire distance.
He barely made it to the car before last night’s tears returned. What is happening he thought? I’ve lost my wife, I’m leaving my daughter and my heart feels like it has stopped. He sat in his car and cried. As he left the parking lot, he didn’t see Marissa waving from inside the building.
David was hired by one of the firms for whom he had previously contracted. The relationship when back, officially, for eight years. His first day when quickly, but not quickly enough. Mostly, he completed paperwork, met the other staff, had lunch with his new boss and learned his way around three stories of brick glass and steel.
As the end of the day approached, David politely said his goodbyes, declined an invitation to meet some of the guys for drinks later and walked quickly to his car. Glancing at his watch, he saw he would make his deadline. Arriving two minutes early, he found Marissa’s room. “Marissa” he called sweetly. She turned and smiled. “How was your day, sweetie?”
GreaterColumbusga.com-All”>http://www.greatercolumbusga.com”>GreaterColumbusga.com-All you need to Know
Columbus”>http://www.greatercolumbusga.com/phone-web-list/child-care”>Columbus Ga Child Care