Some things you don’t come back from. The door stood open just a smidge. Just a tiny crack letting enough of the muffled voices and light from the other side leak out and entice Sara to inch closer to satiate her curiosity. This was one of those moments. It looked so innocent: some eavesdropping done in a less than malicious just this side of harmless way by a seven year old in footy jammies holding a stuffed bear named Poo, not Pooh. She just wondered what the men wanted from Daddy and why everyone was still awake after midnight and not so innocently if she could get Daddy in a pickle with Mommy like the time she’d overheard him say those naughty things to Jimmie’s mom during carpool pick up before Christmas. She was still angry that he’d left her. She still got upset that she had to pack a suitcase every other week and Mommy dropped her at this little apartment on the other side of town so far away from her friends that she couldn’t even ride her bike to see them and she had to give up her Saturdays sitting in the pawn shop with him instead. It smelled bad in the shop; like someone put out a cigarette in a can of beer then left it sitting in the sun too long and then poured it all over the walls. She hated it.
So now she was listening. Listening out of childish curiosity and defiance. she couldn’t know it would be one of those things she wouldn’t come back from. At seven, you don’t think that far ahead. You think that everything will eventually be something that can be undone. Washing machines cleaned your clothes when you got cherry slushy on your favorite shirt. You threw up and felt better when you were sick. Your friend who hated you at recess was your best friend again by lunch. Everything was something that could be undone, because her adults had always undone it for her and she believed this to be the way of the world. She couldn’t know that standing here now would change everything, so she leaned in and she listened.