i have a surprise for you, he said at the bottom of the stairs and

the night glowed promise and son, asleep, so we slipped out into air that smelled of fading lilacs and there stood a ladder, a silver-leaning against window against roof and my insides shifted for the height

he held out his hand. “it’s our little getaway” and i thought of him propping the ladder there, picturing us on the roof sitting close seeing everything from new angles and all i wanted was to run for the fear

for even though i talk big, i live scared: of dark, of loud noises and sharp edges and anything i cannot control, and heights, the hardest of them all–and had he forgotten? i looked at his beaming boy face and knew, he’d only wanted to gift me, and so i tried

i tried to scale the rails but i panicked when i saw the roof, when my fingers grazed shingle and how i wanted to climb the final steps, to sit with him beneath the sky and overcome, but i began to shake and cry. and he said, “it’s okay, honey, come down… i’ll take photos, and we’ll pretend.”

and so he took photos and we pretended but “it’s not the same,” he whispered. and there was sadness in his eyes for the view we’d missed together and i hope one day i can take those final steps and understand what it means to touch heaven.

(shared with one stop poetry)