Author: YasuRan PM
You're late, Daddy."Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Family - Words: 1,141 - Reviews: 4 - Published: 11-22-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2599662
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The sun shone brightly in the sapphire blue sky. He drew back the curtain an inch or so and watched as two little girls cycled past on the sidewalk. Two pink tricycles with streamers on the handlebars. Dark hair glistening under their white safety-helmets, faces all smiles. Maybe they were sisters. Twins, identical twins. They looked so happy and carefree that it broke his heart.
She had once been like them. So very achingly like them…
He looked over his shoulder at the sound of a familiar commercial jingle. The television screen displayed bright images of sweet, sugary blond Caucasian kids munching and crunching away on sweet, sugary snacks. Must be an easy life living in a TV ad. It never rained, the houses were large and immaculate, Mum was always smiling and ready with the dinner, Dad always came back home with a glowing face and a twinkle in his eye. Feeling the bubbling of rage building up within him, he turned away to the sun.
It would have been better had it rained today. Then, she would've had a good reason to stay in. Little girls of eight years of age shouldn't be cooped up indoors like caged birds. They were supposed to be out in the sunlight, frisking about like lambs in spring, plucking wild daisies, and getting into all sorts of mischief.
Not curling up in the dark.
And here he was, thinking about how he of all people was thinking about things that were as abysmally cheerful as sunshine and daisies. He, who had spent the majority of his career penning down cynical lyrics about angst, death, and suicide, was now bemoaning the fact that his little girl had been robbed of her carefree childhood too soon and too cruelly.
She was tainted.
Pure no more.
A glint of light bounced off a glassy surface and hit the corner of his eye. He squinted at the framed photo. It had been taken a year ago, on her seventh birthday. There she sat, in the middle of their light blue sofa, her tanned freckled arms folded on her rosy red flared skirt and a gap-toothed grin lighting up her face. He and Lana sat on either side of her, smiling like they really meant it, arms wrapped around the one thing that had still kept them together after all the bitterness and misunderstandings…
"Happy Birthday, Hannah!"
Children were much cleverer than adults gave them credit for. He found Hannah in bed one afternoon. Asleep, tears streaking her pale cheeks. That's when he'd known that she'd known. Behind those baby blues of innocence and mirth was the blackness of heartache and shattered peace. The war had spilled over into her Paradise, polluting its crystal clear waters with their sins of wrath, envy, and greed.
He just stood by and watched.
Even his critics had had to admit that he was good at what he did. Music was his first real lover, entrancing with her notes of silver and tales of gold. Eventually, she would become his mistress, the one he could turn to when the barbs dug in too deep and the constraints of family life grew too suffocating. She was better than drugs, better than alcohol, and he allowed her to consume him like fire. She was his flame, his guiding light. Nothing would ever tear them apart. Not his parents and their archaic words of wisdom. Not Lana and her incessant emotional needs. Not his record company and their nagging whispers of record sales and profits.
The shrill laugh of a cartoon mouse brought back to the present. The curly blonde head fixated on the screen was as still as could be. Not a girlish giggle to be heard.
No… not even Hannah.
Of course, talent like his was bound to be recognized. The tour had been scheduled for six months, spanning seventeen different cities in nine different countries. "It'll be great, the fans love ya!". Those were the words of his manager who rubbed his hands with glee. Lana hadn't been as thrilled at his announcement over dinner. Heh, she was never happy nowadays. Always the sarcastic one with the extra bite in her words. That was what had attracted him to her when they'd first met. That spark in her eyes and that zest she'd once had for life. She'd definitely been a feisty catch but that was what he'd loved about her.
Just a word. Not a feeling.
Perhaps marriage had never been the right choice for him. Commitments weren't his thing. He didn't believe in the sanctimony of a written contract. After all, they were only words. Words could be as weak as they could be powerful. He couldn't say what she'd wanted to hear from him because… it would have been of no use. The fire had long since died down. He didn't love her.
But he'd hung around anyway.
Lana had been the candle that had burned out to cast its glow over Hannah. What do stars do once they cease to burn? They die, of course.
The worst part was… he knew why she'd done it. The lonely days and the lonelier nights. Pining for things which had once lived, mourning over their inevitable demise. Love had budded, bloomed, and then withered. It was exactly like what he felt now. The four walls surrounding him shivered with reflected echoes of what might have been. Faint melancholy tunes of revealed possibilities…
If he hadn't left without as much as a goodbye.
If he'd held Hannah in his arms and fought away her fears.
If he'd only reached out to Lana.
If she'd only held on a bit longer.
He'd rushed back home as soon as he'd heard the news. The images sprung up before his eyes against his will. Fluorescent lights, shiny black plastic body bag, Hannah sitting by the fence alone.
Lana had done it earlier that morning. Hannah had discovered her too late. He'd gazed at his wife's lifeless face and almost imagined her to be asleep. That's what he'd told himself. She's only asleep. She'll wake up and snap his head off for coming home late. Lies.
The truth was too harsh to take in so he'd sugar-coated and frosted it until it sickened him.
It's not my fault. I'm not to blame.
"You're late, Daddy."
But he had Hannah for now. Hannah had him. She may despise him with all her might but she still had him to hold. He placed a steady hand on her shoulder and watched her life go by…