Mira woke up to the sound of her bedside alarm. It was already 6:00 AM, time to get up and make breakfast for her beloved fiancé and daughter.
She yawned and stretched before carefully opening her eyes. She squinted as soon as the bright morning rays seeped through the thin curtains. She groaned and rubbed her eyes, still feeling very sleepy.
“Good morning, Honey,” Mira heard him call from the door.
She turned with a smile on her face, as she smelled the scent of freshly cooked bacon and eggs through the open door behind him.
“You sneaked up on me again. You already cooked breakfast? I was supposed to do that,” she asked as she turned her face up to receive a kiss that he planted on her lips.
She still needed to get used to having him around to take care of her and her daughter. For so long, it was just her and Celestine. They were never lacking in material things, they were well provided for by her parents and the income from her coffee shops, but there was always something missing, a space in her heart that was abandoned. Then he came and he was good to them and he always wanted to do more than what is expected for them, including an attempt to fill that void.
“Yes, I did sleepyhead.” He smiled with his gentle eyes which made her smile back. He then kissed her nose and grinned. “I love you, Honey.”
Mira gasped and quickly closed her eyes shut as a bright flashing light suddenly blurred her vision and she saw just a fleeting image of a man kissing the tip of her nose. She felt his warm and soft lips on her skin and heard his sweet voice. She felt something strange and familiar and magical but it didn’t quite settle in.
“Are you okay, Hon?” He asked as he sat beside Mira and wrapped an arm over her shoulders. He then gently stroked her arm up and down. “Another headache?”
“A little,” she whispered.
“You’ve been getting a lot of those lately. I’m going to call the doctor and schedule an appointment today. I’ll take you,” he said and kissed her temple.
She sighed and turned to face him. “I’m alright, Honey. Really. Don’t you have work today? I just need some Tylenol and coffee.”
“Never a good combo but whatever works for you, Honey.” He chuckled.
“You are the sweetest. Thank you.” Mira reached out her hand and touched his face.
And as she stared at his handsome face, she wondered. Why... Why does she feel like something is missing when this awesome man was willing to give her the world?
She knew she loved him. How can any woman not love this man? He is kind and sweet and smart and responsible. But somehow she felt something was amiss like he wasn’t supposed to be there, like she was meant to be somewhere else, with someone else.
“You’re always welcome, Honey. I love you,” he whispered.
“I love you too, Andrew,” Mira said as she closed her eyes and let his kiss try to fill the hole in her heart that has always been there despite the seemingly perfect life she lived.
Reignald leaned back in his chair as he fiercely rubbed his temples and sighed. Piles and piles of plans, charts, and layouts were scattered on his desk. He has spent every single day for the past years like that— researching, working and drawing plans nonstop, day in and day out, until his body gave out, signaling his day to be over.
And when he opened his eyes again after a couple of hours of sleep, he would take a quick shower and grab a cup of coffee (or what seemed to be coffee) then began work again in the same vicious cycle. He worked until he was too physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted to think or feel anything else.
Too drained to be reminded of his longing for her.
Too tired to remember her kindness, her velvety voice, her beauty, her gentle kisses, and her sweet vanilla scent.
Too worn out to yearn for her... to love her.
Reignald lazily pulled himself off the backrest of the chair and opened his laptop. He stared at the screen and watched her sit on a bench by the lake. She closed her eyes and breathed in the fresh mountain air. The cool breeze kissed her olive skin as she sighed contentedly. It was early evening and Mira sat in her usual spot in the backyard for a little stargazing after dinner. She looked happy, and somehow despite his longing, her smile stirred up warmth and gladness in his heart.
A few seconds later, joyful shrieks and giggles were heard in the background. Mira laughed as she gazed at the little girl with fair skin, bright eyes, pink lips, curly hair held in pigtails and a radiant smile that flashed a deep dimple on her left cheek.
Reignald bit his lip and held back his tears as the little girl came into view.
“There she is.” He gasped. “Our precious Celestine,” he whispered as he touched the screen and watched their 7-year old daughter ran to her mother and show her the yellow teddy bear her “Dad” just gave her.
“Mama, can we stay here?” The little girl asked as she sat beside Mira and laid her head on her mom’s lap.
“What do you mean, sweetheart?” Mira asked, running her fingers through their daughter’s hair and looking up at the night sky.
“Can we stay out here and watch the stars, Mama?”
“Of course we can, love, but just for a little while, okay? You have school tomorrow.”
Reignald smiled knowing that their little girl also had the same fascination with the stars as her mother.
“Mama, what’s your favorite constellation?”
“Well, we can’t see it right now. It’s a very rare one because it can only be seen if the night sky is clear enough to show the faint brightness of its stars,” she said. “It’s called Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer. It’s a very large constellation but rarely spotted because many popular and brighter constellations surround it. Maybe in the summer, we’ll be lucky to see it.”
“Ophiuchus…” He sighed. “She remembered,” Reignald whispered as tears fell from his eyes.
“I’d like to see it too, Mama.” Their precious Celestine said.
“You will, sweetheart. I know you will,” Mira answered and kissed their daughter’s forehead.
Reignald watched his beloved Mira and their dear Celestine look up at the sky.
“My sweet Celestine...” He sobbed. “Papa is doing everything that he can to get back to you. I’ll see you soon.
He then looked at the pair of sparkling brown eyes that smiled as they watched the stars that will never compare to their brilliant beauty. “Mira, wait for me. I’m coming home to you.”