She runs up the stairs on all fours, the way kids do. She’s one day short of nine years old. Dark blonde hair with pink tips, mismatched socks, and jeans. She sees me and freezes. Our eyes lock. Coincidence, not genetics, that they are the same blue. This kid and I are entirely unknown to each other. And yet, in this moment a bond fuses between us that will outlast my marriage to her mother. Will outlast everything in my life. The longer I know her, the harder I wish to go back in time and meet my daughter sooner.
This story first appeared in Five Minute Lit on August 29, 2022.