The girl ran into the room with her shoes squeaking on the cold marble floor and echoing in the large room. She walked over to the fireplace and knelt before it. The fire crackled as she quietly watched it.
“How was your day baby?” her father asked her from the couch. He was slouched and disheveled in a dark suit with a black tie loosened around his neck.
The little girl turned her head and looked at her father. Her two French braids whipping about as she did so. “It was ok”, she replied.
“Tina told me that you are learning about bees in school”.
“Yup, they make lots of honey and buzz buzz all day long,” she said as she mimicked the bee’s sound.
“Yes they do and it’s time for bed darling,” he said as he stood up. The little girl got up from off the floor and stood beside him.
“Where’s Mommy?” she asked him. He avoided his daughter’s eyes as he extended his hand to her.
She took it and they began to walk down a hall passing by framed pictures of the family in various poses. They entered a blue bedroom with cartoon stickers on the walls.
“Did you ride your bike today?” he asked her as he sat her on the bed.
“Yeah but we only went around the block,” she replied. He took off her shoes and placed it on the floor in the closet.
“That’s good. You like it?”
“It was fun. Tina said she’ll show me how to ride the big bike soon,” she said.
“You’ll be the best bicyclist in the world. Going as fast as Road Runner,” he said. She giggled at that. He helped her undress then put on her pajamas. She stretched out on the bed, resting her head on the pillow. He pulled the quilt up and covered her to her chin.
“When’s mommy coming home?” she asked with her eyes staring up at him.
He looked at her for a few seconds then he knelt down so that they were on eye level. “Mommy is gone. She is now in a better place where she can watch over you with a huge smile on her face,” he said.
“Where?” she whispered.
“Everywhere; she is always with you sweetheart. Now go to sleep ok?”
“Ok,” she whispered.
“I love you.”
“I love you too Daddy and I also love Mommy,” she said.
“She loves you always baby,” he said. He kissed her head then turned on the nightlight and closed the door partway. He stepped out into the hallway and walked quickly away then fell against the wall as the sobs overtook him.