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Chapter 72 Ripped Out

  • I remembered when I was about seven or eight, playing in the street with my cousins – without putting my head close to theirs for fear of getting lice – and skinning our knees and playfighting like girls will, and suddenly the blue police vans pulled up and agents came swarming out like ants and barging into the house, back when it hadn't been reformed yet and the doors were open all day and my mother sat outside to gossip and keep an eye on me. Long minutes had passed and he'd been frogmarched out, two agents on each side as if they were taking in a murderer or a terrorist instead of a normal man. His head had been held high while the neighbors spied from their windows and front doors and he'd met eyes with me and looked away, maybe not trusting himself to say anything, and that had lasted a split second and he was gone without a word for over half a decade.
  • For weeks, months and even years afterwards I'd replayed that scene, adding bits and taking bits away until it was perfect. It had been a coldish day, one of the first real days of autumn. They'd taken him, they were leading him to the van, and as we'd locked eyes he'd called out, "I love you, Kiara! Be good!" The neighbors had been hurling profanities at the police from their windows, probably saying how my father was a great man, a decent honest hardworking man who loved his family, and they could throw him in jail but they couldn't take his spirit from him.
  • It had been a total fantasy, but I'd been a fanciful girl and that had helped me get to sleep many nights. The truth was that the neighbors hadn't said anything in his defense, they probably would've been glad to see him gone, and he hadn't said anything to me either. We'd let him go in ashamed silence.
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