“When is daddy coming back?” Stacy cried.
“He isn’t.,” Jodi said. Her matter of fact tone of voice gave away none of the turmoil she was feeling inside. It was as if the ground were being taken out from under her feet. “Is he?” She turned to their mom.
There was a distant, pained expression on their mom’s face. “No,” their mom answered, her voice as distant as the look in her eyes.
Stacy wailed at that, and ran to cling to their mom’s leg.
Their mom, picked Stacy up to carry her back to bed. As she passed Jodi, she said, “You are entirely too smart for your own good sometimes.”
Jodi, stung by her mom’s words, as much as by their father’s leaving, ran outside to their small back yard, and lay on her back. The grass was mostly brown, and the roughness prickled her skin.
It was an August night. The air still carried some of the day’s heat and the sky was full of stars, those specks of light Jodi had often made wishes on. As she lay there, she spied a shooting star and made her wish. “Please star, help me be more like mom wants me to be.”