She had almost left the jacket on the hook on the back porch despite the crisp wind. She knew that it would be cool on the top of the hill. It always was this time of the year when the leaves were turning colors and the animals began to disappear. She almost wanted to feel the cold against her skin. She almost wanted to endure it. There was something about suffering that made her feel more alive. The chill on her flesh could remind her that she was living, keep her grounded in reality. Though, even knowing all of this, she chose to wear the jacket.
It was a long walk up the elevated mound. It had seemed like a mountain when she was a younger, racing around her Daddy’s long legs. He had laughed in that deep, comforting sort of way, between his furry lip and chin. She remembered asking him if he would stop being a Daddy if he ever lost his beard. He had only chuckled and chased her up the hill.
The lone bench on the hill was silhouetted against the gray sky long before she reached the top. She and Daddy had sat there until the sun had long set, and the evening gale had come. She remembered how he had wrapped his coat around her, with gentle eyes, taking the time to teach her about life and love.
The first tear drop did not fall until she reached the place that her and her Daddy used to sit. The wood on the bench was worn and splintered. She sat upon it anyway. She rubbed the spot next to her where Daddy should have been, before finally resting her hands on her knees. It seemed forsaken to touch the place where he should have been. The bench wasn’t a genie, and he was not going to come back.
Sadness crept throughout her as she mulled over the thought. She understood that death was a part of life, but she was not ready to let him go. His death had been a surprise to her and her siblings. The townsfolk may have expected it, calling him names like drunkard and alcoholic, even in whispers during his funeral. But, for her, he would always be her Daddy.