He meant to give her a pat on the cheek, say he loved, would miss her. But he wasn’t practiced in such things, and the hand landed in a cold hard slap.
The familiar sting gave rise to a mountain of old hurts swallowed down by his daughter as she gripped her luggage and left through the flimsy screen door.
He watched the girl awkwardly navigate chipped steps with oversized baggage, felt his eyes welling, throat swelling, trying again to say the words never heard from his own parents.
His silent silhouette behind tattered mesh was her last memory driving away.