Short Story: Don’t Cry

School Door Closed

A writing exercise banning the use of the letter “e”


I don’t want to stay on my own, Tara thought, shaking a thick braid of brown hair drooping down.  “Don’t go, Daddy,” Tara said, wishing it could stay how it was, dropping salt sorrow onto a dirt floor.  A girl who could not say it is all right for him to walk away.  

“But I must, Tara,” said Dad, strong and sad, wishing similar things but knowing what is right.  “If I don’t go now, I must stay always, and how will you grow?  Your world must spin on, my darling.”

Tara, crying, thinks it’s unfair.  Unclasping his warm hand, watching as Dad walks away, too full of thoughts to stay.    But Tara turns, and stands up straight, and as Dad pulls on a black Volvo door, craning around for a last look, a small girl walks into a big scary room, without Mommy or Daddy.  Dad laughs, loving, and sits in a black Volvo to call Tara’s mom.  It was going all right.  Dad was proud and Mom should think so, too.

A long day passing for Dad, not Tara.  Dad is anxious but Tara has so much fun.  Painting, drawing, laughing, talking – all day a blur of sound and color.  Dad waits by a big, scary door that has shrunk into a normal thing for a grown up girl, but without knowing his child’s triumph.  So young, Dad thinks, as kids skip and play in a yard.  Finally Tara shows, giggling, companions surrounding a girl anything but sad now, bringing joy to him.

Dad waits a third day to bring Tara to school.  Again with crying and sobs – a tiny tantrum for a bright sun.  “Don’t go, Daddy!”

“But Tara, I must – I must again and you know why.  Don’t cry, Tara, you always find that it’s not so scary if you try to stay tough.”

Dad, strong and sad, walks away, and Tara’s sobs stop soon.  Big scary doors shrink by sundown, but morning is daunting and small girls must always find comfort in strong, sad dads who say, “Don’t cry.”