Were they birds that swam? Were they turtles that flew?
They loved each other for life.
Mom and dad were turtle doves. Mom told me so. They even called each other ‘Dove’.
I had never been so confused by a visit with Santa as I was on that day when I was eight.
And the sky smelled sour.
We got home from the mall. Mom and me.
Dad cooked dinner while we were gone and we sat down to eat.
I didn’t know what to think of that visit with Santa. So many questions. I didn’t know what to ask or how to ask it.
So I sang it.
I meant, I hummed it.
(I liked singing more than I’d ever tell the guys in Little League)
Dad recognized the tune and smiled.
Mom recognized the tune and froze.
The words were never sun aloud. But we finished humming the song all together.
I went to school five times and the next time I didn’t have to go, Mom and Dad went to the mall without me.
I knew they were buying me presents.
Mom wasn’t with Dad when he came to Todd Buckley’s to pick me up. Dad didn’t even come to the door; he just honked and Mrs. Buckley sent me on my way.
I got in the car and saw Dad had gotten a new shirt. He wasn’t wearing the white one he’d left in. The shirt he was wearing now was as red as Santa’s suit.
And it was wet.
I asked where Mom was and Dad didn’t answer at first.
The he sad something. But it sounded weird. Because, what he said is something he should have sung.
It was the same thing I was humming that night at dinner.
And he just kept saying it over and over.
“I say Mommy kissing Santa Claus.”
His shirt was as red as Santa’s.
Where was Mom?
Turtle Doves weren’t birds that could swim.
They weren’t turtles that could fly.
And they weren’t Mom and Dad.