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There’s a wrinkle in his hand that looks like the wrinkle in a moonflower when it blooms at dusk. It was there all along like the three creases in my hand. I didn’t know about it—the scar—the shape of a flower in my father’s hand. I was a boy and didn’t know how to look. Just as I didn’t know that the baobab grew and stood right. All the while it seemed like her roots were planted beneath the sky.
I scraped candle plates clean before sunset; unplugged the nearly burnt-out stumps, saved them for the fire; took out new candles charily, careful not to tear the blue and white Lighthouse paper bag. I lit the sitting room before he arrived and wished to make it bright and clean. Still, everything was always a darker shade—the evening and its supper, the song on the radio, the back of his hands when he held them up to his face; the flowers in the vase, blue Lenten roses, plucked from his madam’s garden before they withered, unfurled to paper planes.
Today he smiles and marvels at the maddening sun, amazed by the colours of all he will impart. But it wasn’t always this way. The shovel broke, scarred, and defeated him most days. I wish I had saved him; brought us closer in the slowing years; let him know that he wasn’t alone, that I remember the dark wrinkle growing deeper and deeper in his moonflower hand.