on security and a kiss: a story in my pocket

It could have been so hot out that I imagined my Daddy driving all the way from South Carolina with the windows down, his hair slicking back all 8 hours home to Alabama. He could have been gone for work-training so long that Mama gave up and let us eat brown sugar with a spoon. When my brothers fought, she could have let them just “work it out.” My sister and I could have been allowed to play outside in the dark way after the whippoorwill started calling. It could have been so cold out that the wind shepherded the brown leaves into secret places, us in our puffy coats. We could have been so cold that no one went out to adjust the television antenna.  

I don’t remember.

I just know that he had been gone, and then he came back to us, and he walked up on the dark front porch and through the door, and we were squealing and jumping, the four of us so excited that we climbed up all 6 feet and 6 inches of him. He gave the boys some toys, and then he had for me and Erin either a small porcelain jewelry box or a stone-washed blue jean purse, and we said, “thank you” and then clinked at the porcelain lid and unzipped coin pockets, and as we did

he stood over her like unrelenting humidity. Mama had been on the bed so proud of our gifts, and he leaned in, and her arm came up, and I expected them to hug,

but it wasn’t that. They kissed without breathing, and I thought he was going to climb inside her mouth. I worried they forgot we existed. It went on so that we stood watching, our own breaths sucked up like that still green air before the funnel cloud. 

Though I had never questioned it before, I knew in that moment that he loved her, and he wanted her, and she was extraordinary. I had a grown-up thought of her work loads and her lonely, and I saw, with my eyes, her spirit syphon from him, and the more she took, the less empty he became.

I do believe it was summer. We slept like we had just turned on the pull of the box fans. We slept that night like we floated on secure night water.


For more Stories in My Pocket, check out Joanne at Mylestones.

About me


What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
On a Regular Day: the Terrible and the Fantastic
June 23, 2015
Findings: the Parent Circle, the gifts, and the simpler thing
March 13, 2015
Women Set Apart
February 23, 2015
Embrace the Awkward
April 09, 2014
It is My Passion That You Know This
January 08, 2014
Begotten: Notes from The Creed
October 15, 2013
Want to go in on a van with me?
September 12, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Jars of Clay
April 12, 2013


Emily M
Reply June 20, 2009

That's so beautiful. I never witnessed that kind of love between my parents, but I'm doing the best I can to let my children see it between their daddy and me.

Really, I'm going to be thinking about this for a long time. Thank you.

Reply June 20, 2009

I felt this, every word...


John’s last blog post..Interesting week here in Lake Sinbegone

Reply June 20, 2009

This was beautiful, beautiful and more. I looked at the comment screen for 5 minutes trying to spell out a response. But all I can say is beautiful.
Thank you.
The stories in my pocket link is finally up and at 'em. No matter how early I get up in search of lonesome inspiration, it seems my children are determined to keep me company. So, that explains why my Saturday morning "deadline" brushed up against noon. :-)

Jo@Mylestones’s last blog post..Stories in my Pocket: On Expecting and the Unexpected

Reply June 20, 2009

mmmm. i like it.

angela’s last blog post..A Vending Machine of Happiness

Reply June 20, 2009

There is security in knowing your parents love each other! Wonderfully said, Amber.

Amy’s last blog post..headboard dilema

Reply June 20, 2009

I wish beautiful could describe this post. It doesn't do it justice.

Minnesotamom’s last blog post..Summer Music

Reply June 20, 2009

Wonderful story- beautifully written.

I hope my children see this in their Dad and I.

This is some GREAT WRITING!

sherri’s last blog post..I need the most clever caption writers eva!

Reply June 20, 2009

Beautifully said, Amber. Your words dance with such delicate, purposeful spontaneity I have to presume you were a firefly choreographer in a previous life.

"They kissed without breathing..."

Oh to be so breathless again someday...

Stephen’s last blog post..Then One Day He Finally Sees Her

Reply June 20, 2009

oh i've missed your posts!
this is beautiful and speaks volumes about the importance of affection in families! i love it!
i remember my dad, layed out in a recliner, but with the foot-thingy down, my mom on her knees with her arms wrapped around his waist, and her face resting on his belly...
thanks for the memory... :)

patty’s last blog post..live joyfully

Reply June 21, 2009

This is gorgeous. <3 Thank you.

Reply June 22, 2009

Awh!!!! You just made me cry!!!

Kelly’s last blog post..This Time Flying

Aunt Pam
Reply June 22, 2009

...me too Kelly. I believe it was work training....and I remember your little bodies and that porch. Mercy! Thanks for the memories.

Ann Voskamp
Reply June 22, 2009

I won't remember where I am when I write this... just that I was at a screen and the words transported me and I knew that someday there would be pages and pages of these words all bound in a book and I would read them long into the night, a humming of a whirling words, a fan spinning out dreams.

When you can, amidst the boys and the daisies.... pluck words.

All, all my love...

Ann Voskamp’s last blog post..Choose Your View

Reply June 23, 2009

This post was a tall glass of water for me. It quenched, was refreshing, and I wanted more!

alison’s last blog post..make the sale work for you: buying kids' clothes without losing money

Reply August 29, 2009

Oh dear. Now I am a blubbering mess. This was just beautiful! Simply beautiful! I remember - when I was about twelve years old - praying to God, asking Him for just a quarter of the love that my mom and dad have for each other. And he answered, 100-fold!

Reply November 4, 2009

When you think of all the stuff we (as parents) do to make a big and lasting impression, and it flies right by kids, but they catch the really important stuff.

Reply March 16, 2010

Reading this just sucked all the breath right out of me. I savor your posts. I am reading through the archives, slowly. Because each requires its own attention, and I don't want to miss anything.


Reply May 22, 2010

This was such a beautiful post. Thankyou

Reply May 22, 2010

Love is so powerful. Loved that the scene of embraced love made you stop in your tracks. Good love enables a great response of awe.

Great pic you painted for us!

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