When Papa Comes Running
It’s the twilight hour.
He’s settled across from my summer seating to catch some of the game. But he’s dozing.
The Droid interrupts the outfield scramble. “Grace is in the field behind your house screaming. She’s not moving. She’s just standing there screaming, ‘Help me!’ I sent her through the field for a couple double-A batteries, but she’s standing there just screaming.”
“Something’s wrong with Grace! She’s screaming out back.”
He’s up and off. The floor shakes and the sink dishes shiver and papers fly off the kitchen table and his indoor flip-flops (the ones I hate) smack his feet as he races to her–moves faster than when I broke my foot.
I pause at the Hoosier to snatch the batteries before running out of the house barefoot, across the concrete, into the prickly grass, and around the corner of the garage in the direction of the shrieking.
Gravel flies as my daughter tears up our driveway and skids to a halt. We meet at the crabapple.
“Double A?” I pant and hand them to her.
Papa reaches the edge of the cornfield first, and Grace runs to him and then into her mother’s arms.
She’s shaking. Tears run down her face. Words come in gasps. She won’t take her eyes from the tree.
Something came at her and is in the tree. A bat? A swallow? What? What?
We look up.
We look down.
We look in.
And there deep in the branches, a movement of fur and two little eyes. It cowers against the trunk.
She has scared the wits out of an opossum that ran into the field and was nearly on her feet before he saw her, did a 180 and hightailed for cover.
“I think you gave him a heart attack.” I rub tangled bangs off her forehead. “It’s a wonder he didn’t just drop dead.”
She’s not laughing yet.
But she will tomorrow.
Tomorrow we’ll look up ‘possum facts.
And I’ll remind her.
I’ll remind her how some things are more afraid of us.
How we’re never lost to Him in the messy maze of life.
How He sees our first tear.
How He hears our first whimper.
And how some things are scared to death when our Papa comes running.