Elizabeth Ellen

My husband wouldn't let go of my hand. From the moment we entered the building he was overly familiar with his surroundings: the artificial palm in the TV room, the black tape that marked an uncrossable line on the floor. Half a decade later our daughter's hand breaks first. She does not call my name. I stand outside the door, wait. Three minutes go by. I stand on tiptoe, peek through the glass at the top of the door. She is already seated at a table, reddening a construction paper apple with a fat crayon. I drive home to her father. Where have you been? he wants to know. What the hell took you so long?