Three cigarettes laid in the ash tray. The first thing I saw when I skipped into my mother's bedroom on a sunny morning.
Three cigarettes laid flat with their ends burnt dark to ash. They belonged to my father. My father who was not married to my mother but to another woman and who lived twenty minutes away from us with her and her daughter. My father who often came by, usually after I went to bed at night.
He did again last night. They thought I didn't know.
I laid in my bed in my room in the dark. I heard the doorbell ring, the door opening, my mother's warm greeting and my father's equally warm baritone. A bark. My father's black german shepherd, Lady, was here too. My father's constant companion.
Footsteps down the hallway and ending in the living room. My mother's continued into the kitchen as she pulled out food and drinks for them both. Then the constant talking.
I threw back my covers and got quietly out of bed. I tiptoed to my open door and peeked out. I would see the back of my father's grayish curly afro and Lady lying beside his chair. I'd lean against the doorway and watch him for awhile. When my eyelids started drooping, then I hurried back to bed.
I laid in between the sheets listening to the sound of their voices until I fell asleep.
These morning-afters. Happened alot. What was left were those white Kool cigarettes with their burnt ends buried deep in a pile of gray ash in a clear ashtray sitting on the floor by my mother's bed.
Evidence of my father being here.
Write about the first (or second) memory that comes to mind when you see the above image of the cigarettes in an ashtray.