I knew she was going to leave me the minute she told me she wanted to name our daughter Myriam, and I told her I hated the name. I mean, she was gonna leave me anyway, but that was the straw that packed her bags. Despite our differences, I tried to make it work. I could imagine my daughter having a broken family like I did, even if her name was Myriam. She told me it was Hebrew for life, I told her she’s a fucking Italian Atheist, and we didn’t need to name our daughter Myriam. She was settled on a name though, just as much as she was settled on leaving me.
I was at the hospital the day Myriam was born. It was the first time in my adult life I cried; she told me I was being a bitch, and that this is why she can’t stand me anymore. I didn’t care. Myriam was an angel, even with her newborn shrieks. The first time I held Myriam I promised to never let her go. When her mother wasn’t listening I started working on her new nickname; Myrie. Whenever her mother overheard she’d scoff. I fell asleep with Myrie in my arms, and when I woke up her mother was gone. It was just me and Myrie ever since then.
Man, if my boys thought I was whipped before, they were in for a shock when Myrie came into my life. I took that little girl everywhere. I never once hired a babysitter, because there was never a need. The only hours she was away from my were when I was working at the deli, and even then she was in school. I’d drive home, pick her up from the bus, and we’d go exploring; hiking, fishing, baseball, ice cream. When Myrie was old enough, she had a key to the house for when I’d work late. It didn’t matter how long I was gone for, she was always waiting on the front step, rain or shine, ready for our next adventure.
I was driving home after a rough day at work, thinking about my little girl. Times were gettin’ hard. Bills weren’t being paid on time, rent checks were late, and there were rumors the deli was going out of business. I’d be out of a job, and thinking of my precious Myrie not having a home was breaking my heart. The one thing getting me through that week was the thought of Myrie, waiting on the front steps, doing her homework, and that big smile spread across her face when she saw my car.
I pulled up, shook by the sight of an empty doorstep. I was only an hour late, it wasn’t even 5 o’clock yet. She wasn’t inside, she wasn’t in the neighborhood. The bus driver said she had gotten off the bus, and was fine. We spent days looking for Myrie. On day 4 we found her backpack. Day 13 we found her body.
The smallest coffins are the heaviest.
Myrie would have been 10 today; a little over three years since she’s passed. Grieving my angel has been hard. I stopped working, I stopped taking care of myself. I’ve tried to die so many times, and those whack job doctors insist Myrie keeps saving me. Nothing makes me angrier than people talking about Myrie’s ghost doing shit. Myrie must have been watching over you! It’s twisting the knife, I swear…
No one knows who took her or what for. We never found DNA, we never found the fucker that took my Myrie. I’ll never have my revenge of watching the bastard pleading for his life. I’ll never have my Myrie.
I climbed into bed like normal tonight, falling asleep staring at my favorite picture of Myrie in my arms, her smile radiating the photo. She was so beautiful. I just want to hold her one last time.
It’s cold. And I mean, I know I can’t afford heat, but it’s freezing in this bed for the middle of August. I open my eyes and I can see my own breath in this room. I can’t even move before the stench hits me; dirt, and rotten food. My heart starts racing. I should be scared, but if I’m about to die, I’m ready to join Myrie. Slowly rolling over in the bed, I see her. Her hair isn’t bouncy and shiny like before, it’s limp and lifeless, caked with dirt. Her bright eyes have started to sink into her tiny face, and bits of flesh have been replaced with maggots and muscle. The little pink dress she was last wearing is torn and dull, and stinks of mold. The smell is overwhelming, and the sight is gruesome, enough to make me gag. But she’s unmistakable.
“Daddy,” Myrie asks. “Can I come home now?”