All that remained

He pictured her, young and full of life, her brown eyes laughing in the sunshine. How she used to pick daisies and stick them behind her ears. One night when a storm was raging outside, she came to his bedroom and knocked on the door, asking to be let him. She wore a pink nightgown, her wispy dark hair was tousled, her eyes heavy with sleep. He scooped her into his arms, laid her beside him and there they slept on that big comfy bed. When he woke up in the morning, her hand was in his hair, her lips slightly parted. A smile on her face.

When Tina died, he thought that his world had ended. But then she had brought forth this tiny child as she died. For months, he resented the tiny baby, she who had ended Tina’s life. But it was his destiny. His child too. And he discovered a new kind of love for his child, a new kind of love that he had never thought possible after Tina’s death. His child. Now he loved her more than anything else in the world.

He fingered the clean soft sheets on her bed, all pink and frilly with patterns of daisies. She always did love daisies, his little girl. When a local policeman had come to the house a week ago with news that his little girl had drowned in the lake where she had always played at for the last 10 years of her life, he refused to believe that it was true. But he had gone through the motions, the funeral, tearless and calm, burying his daughter beside his wife. He kept her room clean, packed her books into boxes, never to be looked at again by her. Donated them to the local library. Gave her soft toys and CDs away. Packed her clothes, donating them to the Salvation Army.

Now, it looked like she had never existed. The room was clean, empty, save for photographs in pretty frames on the bedside table.

He sighed and got off the bed. Once this house was sold, he would move elsewhere. Start anew. There were too many bitter memories here. Too much pain and sadness. He didn’t know if he could live anymore, but he knew that he had to try. He dropped his key onto the floor, accidentally and muttered a curse under his breath. Bent down and saw something wrapped in brown paper under her bed.

He pulled it out, dazed. Opened the package. And the pain hit him all at once. Her North Face jacket. All that remained of her. That day, when the policeman came, her jacket was all they found. 2 days later, her partially decomposed body, face half eaten by fish and little creatures beneath the lake.

The pain hit him, over and over again. He could hardly breathe as the tears came fast and furious down his face.