by Ashley Dunlop
With the summer wind blowing on my face, I paced my footsteps and glanced down to see the path blur past my vision, she was running right beside me like a cheetah on its feet. A six year old's first taste of what freedom is really like, it was tearing me to see the little girl that meant everything to me, run along by herself.
She turns to me and says ‘you can let go now daddy you can go home’ tears welling inside my eyes my grip sternly fastened as I got down on one knee and jerked her into my chest giving her one last hug before watching her running into school.
I couldn’t last a single moment without my heart thumping fast every second my head was filled with you; I know I was told ‘when we men are old you mustn’t cry’ but despite that motto I couldn’t help or hold it back.
The guys at work notice but know it’s best not to say anything but they occasionally come and pat me on the back, the boys know how it feels, the love that they share for their young ones. I can’t help but hear her voice ‘you can let go now daddy, you can go home’ still my boss won’t stand for it the constant breakdowns he tells me ‘you can go home now Barry’, I held tightly onto his hand with more tears again he states ‘you can go home now Barry, you can let go’
I always see her face in the corner of my eye, my arm chair just wasn’t enough for me, I still feel her here with me, I know she will never be forgotten. My brain snaps, I fly through the door and out to the car, driving through the well-known streets right to her school only to realise that school doesn’t finish for another 2 hours. I wait intently for her out front she finally comes out jumps in the car I squeeze her tightly and tell her never to leave me again. Rejoiced my mood lightens for the night.
As I awoke, in a pool of my own sweat I knew something was up, I had that dream again. I drive around all night looking for a pretty sight but nothing can compare to the light of a person’s life, I say to myself ‘you can go home now Barry you can go home’. As I approach our street I’ll never forget it I got the call on Friday night but a tear I couldn’t find, you showed me how I am supposed to live, now you’ve showed me how to die, while remembering that tragic incident I finally found a tear I was lost till Sunday morning engulfed in one’s own misery.
I’m going to miss that smile, I’m going to miss the way you’d look deeply in my eyes, I’m going to miss your voice until the end of time. I know it hurts every time I think about it but it’s all a part of life, never disconnected your number so I could hear that voice one more time I'd dial it to hear that voice again. When it dials out I’d get to hear that voicemail I know so well, it says ‘I’m so sorry that I missed you but take care and I’ll see you soon’ another tear wells up in the corner of my eye I walk over to the family album and I look corner to corner and see your smile.
I wish you never stood along the frontline because you’d be sleeping at home tonight, but you stood with courage when the wolf growled at the door you said I better, I’m sorry but I’m true blue down to the core. “it’s still a little bit scary, but I want you to know. I’ll be okay now daddy you can let go.’ It was killing me to see the baby girl that I once knew walking out the door, on her road to glory to find her destiny.
I knew that she didn’t want too but she chose to go I know I can count on her. I always see her face; the little things she did that no one will ever know I know she will never be forgotten. I can’t hold her hand or look into her eyes but when I talked with her it echoed in my mind the heart of one was made of dust and once she passed mine was blown away.
I remember being told the way you left, three left in the squad of 42 you stormed the enemy’s major base and cut down most of the force within before it happened but I suppose heaven was needing a hero to defend its frontlines, I always tell myself God only takes us once we are at our best.
Your brother still talks about you, he asks me about what you were like I had three words for you, strong, loving, courageous. He tells me occasionally that he misses you and wants you to come home I always hold him close to my chest and shed a tear telling him I wish you would too. He asks if you would call our names if you saw us from heaven.
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