Lost without you
Hannah’s eyes were steady on her phone screen, lips pressed between her teeth as if holding back a squeal from leaping off her throat. Her heart throbbed against her chest.
Her grin stretched wider as she uttered out the email aloud with her shaky voice.
We appreciate your hard work and commitment to the Seanflow team for the past two years. We’re all looking forward to seeing you achieve great things in your new role.
Her eyes drifted to the side, to the photo hanging on the wall. James was beaming at her through the frame as if he could sense how Hannah was feeling.
Memories weaved through her bouncing thoughts, and darkness swept off the warm daylight of the room.
“I promise you, James,” Her voice trembled while her fingers held the frozen fingers of James. “I’ll get through this; We’ll get through this together,”
She stared at his numb face, waiting for even the slightest movement to appear on his pale skin, but none came. His complexion had ashen, so lifeless it horrified her.
Her eyes turned towards little Sara, who kept staring blankly at the whirling ceiling fan with her beady eyes.
Little Sara did not recognise what was going on at that moment. Yet the deathly silence of the room and the rolling tears of her mother prompted her doe eyes to peer at the man sleeping on the hospital bed.
“You will always be in our heart, love, Sara would know what a great man her father was,” Hannah caressed the gentle check of her daughter, “but…”
“What if she wants to see her dad? What would I tell her?” Her breath turned ragged and quick. The aftertaste of the salty mixture of her saliva and tears was thick in the back of her throat.
She pressed her eyes shut and pulled little Sara close to her. Foreheads brushed against each other.
Sara stared at her mother and noticed the bulging drops rolling down her face. She raised her tiny arm and wiped off the warm moisture from Hannah’s face while holding a small pout on her lips.
“Mum, why are you crying?”
Hannah flung her eyes open, finding the photo of James in front of her again. Turning her head to the side, she noticed Sara standing beside her with a frown on her face.
“Sara?” She rubbed the dampness from her face and bore a semblance of a faint smile, “Are you done packing your toys?”
Sara nodded as she attempted to pull the tiny suitcase in front of her, “Done.” She answered in a low tone, with the corner of her lips curving down.
“What happened, sweetie? You look upset.”
Sara merely nodded, her lips pushed against each other, and a small dimple appeared on her left cheek. Hannah could recall the dimple off by heart, not only that. Sara’s glinting eyes, her stance of resting all her weight on one foot and the way the skin below her eyes would bunch up when she grinned - sparkled memories before Hannah’s eyes, the gentle reminder of ‘his’ existence.
She rested her palm on Sara’s hair, letting it drift down the strands. “Why love? Are you not happy about going to a new place? You can meet new people there, make new friends.”
Sara stared down for a second before turning her head to the side. Hannah followed her gaze and instantly understood what was about to come. She drew in a thick inhale of the tranquil air.
Sara reached out her tiny arms and pointed at the photo, “Will Dad not come with us?”
A low pulse had risen in Hannah’s chest. She sucked in her lips, not knowing how to answer that question, yet. She wanted to tell her the truth, but the words were a thousand knives that could pierce through Sara’s heart.
She slid her hand from Sara’s hair to her fragile cheek.
“We are getting late, dear,” Hannah responded. “Mommy needs to pack her stuff too, right? You go play with Beebee, okay?”
Sara’s eyebrows knitted together, but she said nothing, instead stomped out of the room.
Hannah felt the pang in her heart for hiding the truth from her daughter. Again.
A tired breath left her mouth as she shuffled towards the photo.
“I can’t tell her James, what should I do?” She pulled the photo off the wall and held it in her arms, “Sara still seeks for you all the time, but I don’t want to stop her. I can’t...”
She glanced back at his grinning face and slid her fingertips on it, “Tell me what I should do now? How should I tell her?” Fingers coiled in her fist and nails dug deep in her skin. “Starting a new life, love, but I don’t know how to do this without you, I am feeling lost.”
She lowered the photo, eyes gazing at him until the black fabric ripped apart the eye contact. Letting out a deep breath, she zipped off the bag and strolled out of the room.
Eyes looked around the room and glanced around the naked atmosphere. Silence shrouded over her ears. Her eyes hauled at the vacant area where previously the kitchen used to be.
“What the hell have you done to my kitchen?” Hannah’s jaw dropped as her eyes landed on the piles of dishware cluttered over the sink and all over the counter, sauce on the floor.
“What?” James asked nonchalantly.
“It looks like you’ve got into a fight with the kitchen and the kitchen won.”
He chuckled and scratched the back of his head, “Come on, don’t be so rude, It was my first time cooking.”
“So? You literally ruined my kitchen. Who will clean this mess now?”
James peered at the dirty dishware and rubbed his chin, “How about we do this together?” His lucid eyes returned to Hannah. “I’ve read somewhere doing the dishes together brings a couple closer.”
“No way in Hell,” She refused, “You promised you would give me at least one day off from work,” Her lips pressed into a sunken pout.
James laughed and strolled closer to her before resting one palm on her waist. “Aww, my nerdy is angry with me?”
“Don’t call me that, and yes, I am angry with you,” She shifted her head to the side and folded her arms across her chest.
“Okay then,” James shifted her arm from her back to the side of her waist and tickled her. “Let’s see how long can you hold that anger, ”
Hannah screamed with laughter. “James, stop it... don’t,” She tried to push his chest and squirm out from his hold, but he had the other arm circling her waist. “Come on, please, please... please,”
A playful smirk played on James’ lips, “You laughed, you lost.” He paused and grinned, a small dimple formed on his left cheek.
“That’s not fair,” She whined. “You cheated,”
The smirk turned into a gentle smile as he leaned closer and planted a soft kiss at her lips. “Everything is fair in love and war.”
“And I love you, Nerdy.”
A small smile appeared on her lips as she placed her palm on his neck before rising to her toes to place a kiss on his lips, “I love you too,”
The vacant area returned in front of Hannah. “Nerdy,” She whispered, and a warm smile tiptoed to her lips.
Hannah sighed and walked out from there.
Sara was in her room, playing with Beebee, her teddy. She was stroking Beebee’s soft baby pink furs with a drably face. No semblance of happiness in there.
“Sara” Hannah called. “Time to go, sweetheart.”
The little girl didn’t move.
Hannah frowned and walked towards the little girl and knelt to her level, but Sara neglected her gaze.
“What happened, dear?” She laid her palm on her tiny shoulder.
“I don’t want to go,”
“Why love?” Sara turned her head to the other side as she folded her arms over Beebee. “Tell Mum what happened,”
“I want to see Dad,” Sara returned her head to Hannah, eager eyes waiting for her answer.
Hannah’s face dropped as a faint throbbing began in her heart. A deep drag of breath pushed through her mouth, leaving her lips left open slightly—the words jumbled on her tongue.
She sucked in her lips before looking back at her daughter.
“Come with me,” She held her tiny hands, “I’ll show you where Dad is.”
A grin stretched on Sara’s lips, “Really, mum?”
Hannah nodded and rose to her feet, “let’s go,” She gazed back at the little girl.
Sara did a quick nod and followed Hannah to the corner of the room. Happiness shimmered in her face; the grin spread widely across her face.
Hannah tugged at Sara’s finger and led her to the front.
The grin subsided.
Sara frowned, looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Hannah crouched down beside Sara and placed one palm on the side of Sara’s waist before pointing at the mirror - in her reflection.
“There is your dad.”
Sara stared blankly at her mum, “But that is me.”
“I see your dad in you, dear,” Hannah planted a soft kiss on Sara’s cheek and smiled at her, “Your smile, your dimple, your eyes - everything reminds me of James.”
Sara stared at her reflection and rubbed her chin.
Hannah let out a short laugh, “ especially when you do that, you look so much like your dad.”
She held her petite hands and placed a kiss on them. “You’re one of the most beautiful memory your Dad has left for me, Sara. And I just wanna keep this memory close to my heart, safe and protected.”
Hannah’s eyes glimmered with warm tears as she gazed at her daughter, her fingers gently brushing her fragile cheek.
Sara stared at her with a naïve pair of eyes before tugging at her finger to remove them.
Hannah frowned, but it faded a little as Sara cocooned herself in Hannah’s arm. A gentle smile tugged at her lips as she wrapped her arms around her daughter.
“Let’s go, dear.”
“Our new life is waiting for us...”
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