Amanda Sommers


Sitting in a diner, red leather booths mounted
A few feet above the black and white tile floor.
Ahead of me, I see a father and a daughter,
situated across from each other, intensely conversing.

It was noon.
12pm or there about.
Father had a drink in hand, daughter a water
Bags under his eyes, pleading his case; pledging his love
Vowing to never do her wrong again
She sits, dignified.
She’s heard it all before.

He lifts the scotch to his mouth; wetting his lips before he takes a sip of the smooth amber liquid.
Beads of sweat line his forehead.
He slams the glass on the table, startling his daughter.
Droplets splash onto the wood.
He pulls a black pen out of his pocket.
Ink to paper: he draws on the paper placemat, a flower for his daughter.
A memory of theirs
A commitment to be better.

Her stoic façade breaks down.
She collapses into a puddle of memories.
The joy, the disappointment, the longing, the fear
The loss.

He places his hand on hers; she erects like a robot coming to life.
And in that moment,
She recognizes that the pledges and
Vows and promises and assurance
Were just what she needed.
Not because she believed them, but the opposite actually.
All of the pen-ink-on-paper-placemat-flowers in the world
Could not fill the empty commitments he made.
He was not the father she needed him to be.
He was not the man he wanted to be.

The father and daughter
A few booths down the black and white tile walkway
Seemed so distant,
But so real.
For after all,
The only thing that separated me from them
was a mirror on the wall.