Black And Blue

Moriah Cunningham

His body grew painfully stiff with fear. A trigger in his brain clicked and all he wanted was to be home. In a fraction of a second, his vision blurred.

His daughter was twelve. “I’m actually almost a teenager, dad.” He heard her voice in his head. She had just made the debate team and the softball team; she was beautiful. His son wasn’t due to be born for eight months, yet he loved him more than words could describe. He loved the idea of having a son to play catch with, to bond with.

He thought about her. She was everything to him. He remembered the day they met; the first time they said—well he said—I love you.

He remembered when they joked about him being so broke that he’d have to get a ring for her from a crackerjack box. He remembered the smile on her face when her real ring had a diamond. He remembered the downward curl of her upper lip when she didn’t know how he could have afforded it. He remembered their endless love. He remembered their first argument and how short it was because they decided they loved each other too much to stay mad for too long. He remembered the night he found her crying in the back room because she couldn’t change the world’s view of him; she hated that she could not make people see how amazing he was and how, if they stared close enough, they’d see the stars in his eyes.

She cried even harder when they decided to have their firstborn, their softball star. She said they were tears of joy, but he knew all too well it was because a target was on her back because of her father. He wanted to give his princess the world, but he knew he couldn’t. Sweat dripped down his forehead and prayers were being shouted in his silence. Today, like any day, wasn’t promised to him. Red and blue flashed around him. His vision was fuzzy and he couldn’t tell if he was a victim or an innocent. Today, he would either get shot or shoot. He hesitated. Tomorrow was never promised to him because he wouldn’t be there to grasp it.