He said he needed to talk to me about something. Every child hates hearing that from either of their parents. "You know I love you...right?" I hate it when he starts off like this.

I always end up crying.

As we were leaving the parking lot, he reached over and took a couple of my fingers into his hand. My heart immediately dropped, and I started going into panic mode. "Daddy? What's wrong? What's going on? What happened?" He didn't even look at me. I don't think he could. He just stared straight ahead.

I almost burst into tears right there.

He told me he'd been having a rough time with something. I don't know what, he never told me. Then, after a pause, he asked me:

"Maybe...when we get home...can I have a hug?"

And he asked in such a pitiful voice, that he sounded just like a five-year-old. I fixed my hand so that I was holding his hand, and said, "Yeah."

He started crying then. The truck never swerved or jolted when he did. My eyes started watering, and the only thing I could think of was that if I broke and started crying we'd have to pull over, and I just wanted to get out of that truck.

So we drove the rest of the way home like that. How pathetic we must have looked. Clutching each other's hands like a lifeline. And when we passed under a light, I would look away so he couldn't see the tears that managed to slip out from my eyes. I didn't dare wipe them away because then he would've known I was crying.

And I had to be strong for both of us. I just had to, no matter what.

When we got home, he got out of the truck and went straight into the house. I slowly followed. Trying to act normal, I asked, "When will you be home?" He said around one, and then opened his arms and I just fell into them. He started telling me how much he loved me, and he was crying again, and that was it. My dam broke.

"Why are you crying?" I told him I didn't know, I was crying because he was hurt, and he just started crying harder.

After he left for work, I went straight upstairs into the bathroom. I told my brother I was taking a shower, and turned on the radio and cranked it up.

I started sobbing and screaming and whimpering. I was a mess. If my brother heard me, he never said anything. I turned on the shower and stepped in, and immediately sank to my knees and started pounding the shower floor. I put my hands over the drain to keep the water from leaving the shower. I sat that way for awhile and when I let the water out, I felt better.

Or so I thought.

When I looked over on the counter in the bathroom, I realized I still had my friend's bracelet, and I broke down again.

I hate it when my father does this.

I always cry in the end.