8:00 a.m. The cloud was dark; the road was wet; the street lights illuminated the path. It had been raining since dawn and there was no sign of stopping. Some of the teenagers were wrapped in their blankets, getting extra sleep in the cold weather. It was weekend and they took credit to it.
A regular wooden house, painted with baby blue looked dull than it usually was. Aside from the lights at the porch, the only lights that were on were in the living room downstairs and Alex Harold's bedroom on the second floor. The house was occupied but there were no shadows seen moving in the house.
A thick, dark brown hair girl, had just finished taking her morning shower and was putting on her black dress onto her body. Her eyes, nose and face were puffy for crying all night long. After zipping the dress by her own, she tied her hair in a braid and put on a light make-up to cover the bags under her eyes. She put on eye shadow to make her look less like a zombie though she didn't want to. Meanwhile for her pale lips, she covered them with red lipstick.
She sat at the edge of her bed to put on her black high cut converse shoes after feeling satisfied with her appearance and tied the shoelaces loosely, giving some space for her feet to breathe. Though it was not much but enough to make her look presentable or at least didn't look like a living corpse. After that, she got up, grabbed her rectangular black purse and went downstairs, meeting her father's older sister, Patricia Brody and her husband Jonathan Brody, who were also in their black attire.
Just as Alex set her feet on the last staircase, Patricia and Broday, who were having a little chat that Alex didn't bother to listen to, turned to their niece. Both didn't look like they were in a mood to even open their mouths.
"Ready to go, kid?" Jonathan asked in his rough and low voice. A smoke set in between his teeth.
Alex nodded her head. "Yes," she answered.
The old man didn't say anything after that. After grabbing his car keys on the table at the kitchen, he exited Alex's house and got to his car to get ready with the engine. Alex stood at the end of the stairs, waiting for Aunt Patricia.
"Come, Alex. Let's go," the 56 year-old woman said softly. She took her niece's hand and lead her out of the house to Jonathan's car, parked at the curb. Patricia took the shotgun meanwhile Alex sat behind.
The car ride towards the graveyard was silent. No one made an effort to talk. They were busy with their own thoughts and businesses. Whilst Jonathan was silently and carefully driving the car, keeping his full attention on the road as the road was wet from the continuous rain, Patricia was busy replying condolence text messages she had been receiving. Alex, on the other hand, was nervous.
The ceremony had just finished and everyone who attended the funeral started to leave after saying sorry to Alex for her loss. Jonathan and Patricia, too, were leaving for work and asked Alex to join them but Alex refused. She told them she wanted to stay there for a little longer and maybe get a taxi to go home.
Alex's feet were glued in front of her father's grave where there were lots of fresh flowers stuck on the ground around the tombstone. As she stared at her father's name on the tombstone, she felt her eyes hot. Slowly, her vision became blurry as water started to pool around her eyes. She felt like she was staring at her own father who was smiling at her. And she was shaking as she stood in front of Captain Dexter Harold's grave. You could clearly hear her trembling voice when she was inhaling the fresh oxygen around her.
She was in the state where still didn't believe that her father had died. Memories where she had with her father were vividly playing inside her mind like it all just happened yesterday: the piggy back ride, bicycle ride, the Ferris wheel ride, swmming together at the sea. Everything was still clear in her mind. Although Alex prepared for this but her heart still couldn't accept that her father was gone. She hadn't met Dexter for like three months or so but now, she won't meet him forever.
Alex was so upset. It was terrible to know that there'll be no clattering sounds of cooking tools in the kitchen when her father, was not deployed after this. There'll be no voice yelling at her to turn down the volume of her player in the middle of the night because he actually hated the songs she hears. There'll be no one yelling "Dinner's ready!" sharp at 7 in the evening. And now, there'll be no one who would take her out when nobody was not on duty.
Everything's changed in a blink of an eye.
The girl was lost in thought with the moment with her father. She didn't notice that she had been crying while replaying old memories when someone big stood beside her and cleared his throat to get her attention. Alex turned to her left and was surprised to see Captain David Horance, her father's colleague, stood sturdily beside her like he was facing his leader.
"Captain Harold was indeed one of the strongest and kind men I've known," he said, looking at Dexter's tombstone sadly.
Alex smiled lightly hearing Horance's compliment. She let out a comforting sigh before she turned back to look at Dexter's tombstone. She hugged herself when the wind blew, brushing her skin and her hair.
"When he fights, he fights until the end. He won't turn back although his troops are outnumbered. I still remember one time when we only had 13 men to fight with over 50 enemies in Afghanistan. He kept on clutching his rifle - never slipped it off his hand - until every one of them dead. He was incredibly bold," Captain Horance continued telling a little story to Alex about Dexter to cheer her up.
Everybody deserved to know how brave their fathers were.
For a while, Alex felt calm and relax. She felt comforted when she heard what was told by Captain Horance. While smiling to herself because she knew that the Captain didn't tell lies, Alex waited for the man to continue to speak but when he didn't, Alex turned to face the Captain.
"Thank you," she said smiling at Captain. "That was very nice of you," she added.
Captain Horance nodded his head as he took off his beret and slid it under his left arm. He smiled at the young, beautiful daughter of Dexter that he only saw from his friend's pictures before. He didn't know why but he kind of felt responsible with Alex now that Dexter was gone.
Alex sniffled and dried up her eyes when she heard Captain Horance spoke.
"Horance. Captain David Horance; your dad's close friend, I must exclaim," Captain Horance introduced himself, stretching his right hand out where Alex gladly took his hand and shook.
"We fought in the same battlefield where your father was killed." Horance took a very deep breath, restraining himself from crying when a memory of Dexter fell down from a high building, where they were commanded to look after his troops form up there, crossed his mind. "I was there." His voice croaked as he looked down, didn't want to make an eye contact with Alex.
Alex smiled bitterly with Horance's statement. She couln't imagine how horror that scene the captain saw with his own eyes and she couldn't imagine how Captain Horance terribly must had felt. Her heart felt sensitive once again and she felt her eyes began to, once again, became wet but she held herself from crying. At least not in front of her father's friend.
Alex wanted to know about her father more while he was fighting but she couldn't handle her feeling with the thought of him right now. So she dismissed it, thinking she could ask about it later.
"I know you. Dad showed me your pictures with him and told me a lot about you," Alex said with a smile as both of them pulled their hands.
"Aha! I see I am quite famous in Harold's family," Captain Horance joked but he was actually not suprised when Alex told him that she knew him. Everybody knew him after all. "Well, Harold told me about you too," he informed with a shrug. He looked down, watching his feet walking away Dexter's grave with Alex. At the corner of his eye, he saw Alex turned to look at him with curiosity.
"Really?" Captain Horance nodded. "What did he tell you, Captain?" Alex asked curiously.
Captain Horance chuckled seeing the curiosity in Alex's eyes. "Well... he told me that you're a good singer and dancer," Captain Horance stated, remembering a video that Dexter showed when Alex was 15. It was just a video of Alex singing and dancing at the same time to one of the Korean hit songs during that era.
"What? Pfft, I was not!" Alex denied, not knowing what the Captain actually saw. "Dad was the best singer, not me," she said remembering those times when Dexter would sing to her before she went to sleep.
Captain Horance laughed meanwhile Alex blushed. She didn't look less like her own father when she smiled.
"Anyway, I've got something to give you," Captain Horance said, quickly changing the topic causing Alex's face to change. They both stopped walking just out side the graveyard at the curb.
Is that the reason why Captain Horance waited me? To give something to me? Alex wondered as she turned her body to face Horance and the captain did the same.
Captain Horance slid in his hand into his dark green uniform coat and reached for a small rectangular envelope before he pulled it out. "Here," he finally said, handing the envelope to Alex. "Your father wanted you to have this."
Frowning, Alex took it from Captain's grip wondering what it was. Her hand was shaking as her heart was stammering inside her chest, nervous seeing the envelope like she was receiving a bomb. Though she didn't know what lie in the envelope but she was scared to know.
However, she didn't ask about the envelope. She knew she didn't have to because she was going to open it later, after all.
"And two of my soldiers will come to your house this afternoon to drop your father's stuff," he informed as Alex listened but she didn't look at him. Her eyes were locked on the envelope.
"He asked you to keep them because you might need it in the future," Captain Horance added, watching Alex who looked completely confused.
Might need it in the future? Once again, Alex wondered.
For some reason, the Captain didn't look as confused as Alex when he first received the envelope because, though he didn't know what the letters consist, but he knew the purpose.
"Okay." Alex nodded her head lightly. "Thank you, Captain Hor-"
"Just call me, David," Horance cut her with a smile. "I would be your second father if we were closed," he said honestly.
As a gentleman, he always wanted a child. He's straight, he's single, he had everything but guess he couldn't commit a relationship knowing how it hurt to leave someone you loved though he knew his life would be sweeter if he had a wife and children.
"Thank you... David," Alex said.
Captain Horance nodded his head.
"I'll see you around," she said with a quick smile before leaving Horance without a second glance. Her eyes were too busy looking at the back of the envelope that caught her attention.
"You are the sun that lights my day. Even when we're apart, I can still feel your presence. But this letter will show you the other side of me. Please don't hate me for what I did. Big love from your father."