I remember that day. I wore my pink and yellow party dress. I remember how the ruffles felt against my legs as they swung with my movement. How it looked so much like a pretty flower when I twirled. How it waved in the wind as I ran.
My hair was crimped and braided and my face was painted like a doll. Mother had spent so long doing my hair and make-up that day. How I would complain and wiggle and be scolded. How long it seemed to take. How I hated it. It was all in preparation for that show. I didn't want to be in the show. I didn't care about the show. She always made me be in the show. Every year I was in the show.
But that day it was different. I remember that day.
I was on the stage, dancing with the others the way I always had. When I saw him. He was hiding behind others in the crowd. He ducked when he noticed that I had seen him, but it was too late. I leapt from the stage to my mother's horror. She was so shocked. I can still see her face. The wrinkles seemed deeper somehow as she shook her finger and scolded once more. But I didn't care.
I ran to him. That few hundred feet seemed so short in comparison to the long stretch of time since I had last saw my grandfather. He smiled through his tears and it felt wonderful to finally be in his arms again.
I remember that day. The day I knew for certain it had never been my fault that he'd gone. The day I knew for certain that I was loved. The day I knew for certain that I would never let my mother stand between us again.