I dreaded the sound of the voice coming at me across the parking lot, calling me to the car. I was already where I wanted to be and did not welcome the prospect of leaving.
I whimpered. My eyes watered. I let out a cry.
He turned to look at me. I shuddered. What was about to happen? I could not tell from looking at his eyes. His expression did not betray what was inside.
At that point, the short distance across the parking lot seemed like miles. Either I would have to cross the space and give in to what I did not want to do. Or he would span the distance in long strides and bring almost certain punishment for my resistance to obey.
I did not budge. He started my way. What I expected to be anger did not come to be, however. His face actually mirrored mine, as if he understood that I did not want to go. He extended his hand, but not to grab me or scold me. He reached for my hand, and I gave it. Then the long walk did not seem so long. I did not have to do it alone. Then, an experience that I feared would be terrible actually taught me that my daddy will always be there to help me.