"It's all right" he said, holding her, rocking her. "Charlie, it's all right, it's gonna be all right, somehow, I'll come right, I promise.
"I want Mommy" she sobbed.
He nodded. He wanted her too.
"It's gonna be all right" he told her, not really believing it, but it was the litany, it was the Psalter, the voice of the adult calling down the black well of years into the miserable pit of terrorized childhood; it was what you said when things went wrong; it was the nightlight that coud not banish the monster from the closet, but perhaps only keep it at bay for a little while; it was the voice without power, that must speak, nevertheless.
"It's gonna be all right", he told her, not really believing it, knowing as every adult knows in his secret heart that nothing is really all right, ever.
"I just hate it when people break their promise!"