there's no dramatic and tearful goodbye, no promises to come back for her, no rushed explanations.
she simply comes home from school one day and no one is there to greet her at the bus stop. it's not the very first time this has happened, even in her very short school career, and the driver stops just at the end of her drive, so he watches as the tiny blonde bounds up the steps to the house and pushes open the door, disappearing inside before continuing his route, figuring she's safe.
and the house is empty.
typically after bringing her into the house, the pair of blondes get a snack, her mother pulling something from the cabinets that she can't reach, offering sweets or crackers, anything for a smile. hazel wanders there, but the kitchen is quiet. she takes a juice from the fridge, and without even thinking that something might be wrong, she sits in the living room and picks up the remote to turn on cartoons.
she isn't afraid, doesn't even think to be with all her childish ideas of home meaning safe, until her father is home.
he doesn't rush to his daughter's side, concerned that she's been alone all afternoon, and he's not worried for his wife's absense. he's furious. incensed. he's in a rage long before he finishes his first drink, shouting and shuffling papers from the living room table, as if looking for some clue as to where the woman might have disappeared to. by the bottom of his second glass those papers have been tossed around the room, the third has chairs upended, curses being flung just as heavily.
hazel doesn't cry until most of the bottle is gone, when he registers his daughter's presence, practically lifting her off the couch with his hands wrapped (too) tightly around her shoulders, gripping hard enough to bruise as he shakes her, screaming for answers to questions she'd never even considered.
where is she?
why did she leave?
why didn't she fucking take you with her??
she doesn't even remember where she picked up that accusation, that this is the first cut of that particular scar on her heart.
what she does remember is hiding in the closet of her bedroom, closing the accordion doors in front of her, pretending that though she can see through the wooden slats, she can't be seen as her father, drunk and larger than life with his anger, tears apart the house, destroying anything in his path.
(in truth, this particular time doesn't actually stand out, it's a blur of alcoholic rage and far too many shows of aggression, of finding her only solace in a dark closet behind a row of clothes, of falling asleep when the adrenaline of fear begins to recede, praying to anyone or anything that will listen that he doesn't think to come looking for her before unconsciousness pulls him under.)
she remembers her mother vaguely - blonde hair, blue eyes, a pretty laugh, a floral scent, a particularly soft purple sweater - but more than anything she remembers her presence being there one moment and simply being entirely gone the next. extinguished from their lives. extinct.
and her father's words. we don't fucking need her anyway.