“I’m leaving,” she told her daddy.
Her little brown and orange flowered suitcase should’ve been heavier in her little hand, “Did you pack enough clothes, and some food?” He asked, looking up at her from where he sat on the cement front porch steps.
“Yes,” she whispered, even though she knew she didn’t.
Down the steps, out onto the sidewalk, she waited for him to stop her.
“Have a good trip,” he said.
Daddy’s little girl, lost in herself and how different she was from everyone else, walked away. I remember her, and the sound her jelly shoes made on asphalt puckered with melting rubber when an Alabama summer made its presence. I remember, her bangs were sticking to her forehead, and how she wanted to look back at him to see if he was coming after her; but she didn’t.
I remember that she shouldn’t have been walking down the middle of the street, a car may come. She stayed right in the middle anyway, and went as far as her heart would let her before turning around, in that tiny moment of knowing she had nowhere else to go.
He hadn’t moved, and she sat down beside him with her little suitcase perched nearby, and they were quiet for a while.
“Tell me what you see,” He pointed up into the sun setting, and looked himself.
She wondered if he loved her. Did he know she’d come back so soon, and was he waiting?
“I see the sun crying, and its tears are painting a picture that it hopes the world notices.”
She never saw blue, or orange; she saw things different. And different was what hurt sometimes.
“That’s my girl,” he whispered.
I remember, years later, when I finally understood.
It’s often times easier to run from ourselves, to weep and grieve in our need for approval and validation. How empty we can often feel when it seems no one understands us; and loves us anyway. Some of us run. Some of us hide. Some of us are always looking over our shoulders to see if anyone is coming after us; to bring us home.
But when we have the courage to stop, just for a moment, and see the value in who we are …. it can be enough. You are enough. And even though no one may be running after you; there is always someone waiting on the front porch of your life hoping you paint your world with a thousand colors all your own.
Be true to who you are, and the world will see you.