I wake to the sound of crunching leaves. Popping and cracking under my daddy's work boots. His boots are heavy for me to wear, but he wears them like they weigh no more than a feather. It's probably because I'm only six. I like to pretend I can fix things and build things with daddy. So sometimes, I wear his boots around.
My daddy is tall, bald and strong. He has the personality, and looks, of Mr. Clean. He intimidates every boyfriend I bring home from first grade. I think it's funny. We are very close and laugh together all the time. I don't have any brothers or sisters, so I'm very close with daddy. We fall asleep on the couch together. I like it, until he starts to snore and breath down my face.
I'm still laying bed when I hear the front door open.I can hear his boots on the shiny floor of our house. My bedroom door opens slightly and my room is filled with a soft morning light. I hide under my covers and squishes me by jumping on the bed. It's our ritual. Whoever is up first does it to the other.
Ever since mama died, we have lots of traditions. Like every year, on my birthday, breakfast is a coke and ice cream sundae in bed. We don't know how half of them came about, but we keep them. Don't tell daddy that I know this, but I heard him praying once. He was saying to God that it was because that without mama, we need something solid in our lives.