“Tin! Celestine! Come on, love. It’s time to go home. Where are you?” Mira called for her daughter by her nickname after she has grabbed their stuff and prepared for them to leave.
They were out for an afternoon in the park, singing and playing and having a little picnic. Andrew was on a 3-day trip to the city for training regarding the new equipment and procedures in emergency response so Mira scheduled activities for her and Celestine to do to keep them preoccupied.
“Sweetheart, where are you?” She called again as her heart started to race and panic seeped through her veins.
Mira started to walk in the direction she last saw the little girl’s bobbing pigtails and flowy yellow dress.
“Celestine!!! Love!!! Please come out!” Her shaky voice echoed in the empty park as her feet moved quicker to find her daughter.
She stopped to catch her breath in the middle of the park and agitatedly scanned the whole area for any sign of the little girl. She closed her eyes and a tear fell as she looked up to the sky and wished.
“Please... Please... Help me find my little star.”
“Mama...” Celestine sobbed as she helplessly held on to a tree branch ten feet from the ground.
The spontaneity of youth prompted her to quickly and bravely climb that tree earlier to salvage her toy pocket disc which got stuck on a branch when she tossed it too high earlier. But when it was time to go down, she got too scared to move after seeing how lofty she has ended up in her ascent.
The little girl lifted her tear-stained face to the sky and stared at her Mom’s favorite star, her tired arms matching her drained spirit.
“Mama... Papa... Come find me,” she whispered weakly. “Please…”
Then her frail body finally gave up. Her exhausted arms let go.
Instinctively, Reignald immediately leaped forward and ran as she saw the little girl fell from the tree a couple of feet away. He was just lucky enough to catch her before she hit the ground.
“Oh! Thank Heavens! I caught you, little girl.” He said as he clutched her body closer to hers.
After a few seconds, he laid out his arms and let the little girl rest her head on his lap so he can check on her.
As soon as she saw her face, he froze and teared up because, despite the dirt and tears that streaked her cheeks, Reignald knew exactly who she was.
“Celestine... My baby girl...” He sobbed as shaky hands gently touched the sleeping girl’s cheek.
“I found you. Papa’s here.” Reignald cried and held his daughter in his arms.
“Celestine!” Mira called from the top of her lungs, tears now falling uncontrollably from her eyes as fear completely overtook her.
One heavy footstep at a time she dragged her tired feet to the trees. Her heart sank deeper in her anxiety with every second she didn’t see her daughter.
She looked up once again to the bright twinkling stars that marked her favorite constellation in the sky and prayed with all her might to find her little girl.
“Please lead me to her.” She sobbed softly.
Then with the sound of the rustling leaves as the evening breeze blew, Mira turned and saw a man emerging from the woods with Celestine in his arms.
“Oh my God, Tin!” She gasped and frantically ran to them. “What happened? Oh my God, my baby girl...”
With trembling arms, she scooped her daughter up from the man’s arms and sat on the ground.
“My baby... I’m so sorry. Please wake up.” She sobbed as she gently touched her little girl’s face.
“I think she’s just really tired. I caught her as she was falling from a tree,” the man said.
Mira’s heart skipped a beat as she heard him speak. She would recognize that voice anywhere. It was the same low and gentle voice that echoed in her mind over and over again for the past five years which somehow tied her to a man. The man who owned that unfillable space in her heart.
Could it be him?
She slowly looked up but although there was something very familiar about the handsome man that towered over them, her common sense dictated otherwise.
It can’t be him. He’s much too young for me.
“Thank you, Mister...” she said, intentionally leaving the sentence hanging so he could fill in his name.
“Reignald. Mira, it’s me. Reignald.” He smiled and once again she was hit by that feeling of knowing him more than she could even imagine like he was the missing piece in a mysterious puzzle she has been trying to solve all those years.
Reignald… Wait. Did I tell him my name?