Growing up I wanted nothing more than to leave Texas, my home state, the same place I grew up for nearly my whole life. I held onto this fairytale notion that escaping the monotony of everything might set my soul free. I wanted to travel East, and this was our chance. I received my acceptance letter from The University of Pittsburgh, and your father, a recent college graduate, already had a job lined up in the area.

We left a few days after Christmas. I sat in the passenger side of the U-Haul observing my town slowly creep behind us. The parks and restaurants that once faded to the backdrop of my everyday life now stood out, my brain taking a mental picture of a place that suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

I hugged you tightly a few days before, not knowing when I’d see you again. It felt wrong somehow, but I couldn’t understand exactly why. We didn’t know what soon would follow. You were still in their custody at the time and a large part of us hoped it might work out, that they might muster the strength to pull it together eventually. And so, we left, in a U-Haul passing the most familiar place I’ve ever known and deeply missing you.

-Aubrey Cofield