Another installment of Franky Benítez. For a full list of chapters, click here: Table of Contents
I have lost the power to love. I choose to love, but I cannot actively love any longer.
My son Mateo still sleeps as I let go of him and creak my way out of his room. I turn to my left and stop in front of Sofia’s room, the door closed, her name pasted in the magnetic letters we received as a gift when she turned two. I touch the knob with my hand and twist it. The darkness of the dawn still penetrates the room, covering the wrinkled posters of The Jonas Brothers, Taylor Swift, and Selena Gomez. My left shoulders glances against her bed’s metal post, causing a ping to run through my veins and all the way to the tip of my brain.
The quilt of her bed is filled with green, red, and blue butterflies flying about freely over the stitching. On the bed are some Build-a-Bear Workshop figures propped against the bedroom’s wall. Next to them is a Wally the Green Monster that sings “Sweet Caroline” when you press its chubby green index finger. Another bear wears a t-shirt congratulating Sofia on her performance in Annie a year ago. A few books (Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Lois Lowry) are spread on the bed.
The rest of the bed is empty, motionless, no breath, no life. I place my hand on a Scooby Doo pillow and run it across the fabric, over Scooby’s face and Shaggy’s hair. I then uncover the butterfly quilt and get into the bed. There is no warmth anywhere I turn to, I press my head against the wall up against the bed and begin to bang it on the icy plaster. Seconds pass. My head throbs. A drop of red trickles down the wall towards the floor below.
Whatever love I had is now drifting away like a butterfly being tossed in a hurricane. I forge ahead? I keep my tiny wings fluttering? The gusts blow me aside, tumbling me down into a pit of black water. I heave for air as waves keep gushing into my mouth. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. I breathe again and settle my head onto the my daughter’s favorite pillow, which still smells like the mango shampoo she would use every night.
She is no longer here, no longer with us.
And it is all my fault.