17 steps from bottom to top
17 steps from the landing behind the security door to the door that opens into home and love and all that comes with it.
17 steps she climbed, by herself, in her skates, tears pouring down her face.
17 steps to the door
1 step into the house
And then she sat on the floor in tears.
She sat before I could get to her.
Questions tumbling through my mind as I verbalized nothing and sat down with her to finally discover what was upsetting her.
As I unlaced her skates and listened, she told me of the fall from the car, her hurting elbow and shoulder, and her arrival at that moment in our house.
Skates off, she stood and I held her, sobs working through her body - was it only about a fall? Was there more as the tears seemed more heavy than those resulting from a slight scrape?
I just held her, rubbed her back, and let her cry.
It was only later that I realized that she requested me, but I was not notified though I sat in the house twenty feet away and that she ventured from the car, through the parking area, up the outdoor stairs, and then up the hall stairs on her own.
Tears came to my own eyes upon this realization. I was right there. She asked for me. I would have helped her up the stairs after ensuring she wasn't hurt. I would have.
Then the question that haunts - why did he tell her, our ten year old child - that he would get me when she stood up? Why did he say it several times only to not call me? I accept that he will not come into the building or that he wouldn't help her up the stairs as he is uncomfortable doing this, but why tell her he would do something and then just not do it?
He is doing what he feels to be his best.
The wind rustles through the trees.
He feels he is doing his best.
My feet hit the ground, step, step, step.
I did all that I could with the knowledge that I had. I didn't know that she needed or wanted me downstairs. I couldn't have helped her because I didn't know that my help was desired.
He said he would call if she stood up, but when she stood up and moved toward the house he didn't see a point in calling. She followed through; he didn't. He is showing her who he is - nothing more, nothing less.
I feel the cool breeze against my legs and the sidewalk beneath my feet.
I continue moving forward - accepting and releasing and continually appreciating the journey.