This story is dedicated to all those who suffered loss of a loved one and are struggling to live on inspite of all odds. May the good times you you spent with them be your strength and comfort in your own journey. Not edited. Feel free to write any comments that will help me to improve this story.
“It’s not the same now he’s gone,” said Katherine, “poor Daddy, he was the best that ever was. It’s only now that I realise how much he meant to me.”
Katherine was sitting on a dark brown chair, and her bare legs and arms blended well. She wore a floral sun dress that would normally come up to her knees. Presently, the lower part of her thighs were showing. She had dark short curls and a round face, full shiny lips and healing pimples on both cheeks. The foundation hadn’t done justice to the spots. She had eye liner smeared under her brown eyes, the white part of which seemed irritated and small swollen veins therein were visible.
Sara noticed that her cousin was staring into a distance twisting her fingers like one in a wrestling contest. They produced some chuckling sound which Katherine seemed unaware of. She sensed something was wrong. One of those moments, she thought.
“Sorry, Katy,” said Sara, “I also miss Uncle John. He was like a father to me, the one that I never knew. I know how you feel.”
Katherine’s head was propped on her left hand and she was now dreamily staring at the open magazine in front of her. Then she closed her eyes. Two tears fell from one of her eyes and she ignore them.
“Oh, how I’m missing him Sara! He was so caring and kind. He thought of everyone else before himself.”
“In our early teens, he would take us to Sanjeev’s restaurant and treat us to chicken curry and rice.” Sara said pushing her own chair closer to Katherine’s and putting her arm on her shoulder.
“Do you remember, Katy, how he’d always allow us to pass through the park and play on the roller coaster and the swings. As we played he’d say, ‘If you girls behave, I might, yap, I might consider buying you ice-cream,’ and we’d start behaving like angels. Then, there wouldn’t be any more scratching or yelling at each other.”
There was a momentary spark on Katherine’s face and Sara was lightly hopeful. It worked. One should try harder, she thought. She took her free hand and gentle squeezed it, upon which Katherine responded. They remained like that for a few minutes.
Katherine finally disengaged herself and strolled to the open window facing the garden where the party was going be. Everything was already set. The dark cloud in her eyes had now cleared.
“It would be two years soon, yes two…I’m thinking, poor dear… Daddy.”
Sara followed, stood next to her, briefly hesitated, then once more put her arm around her shoulder.
“Please, Cousy, let’s think only about the good times we’d had with him. He wouldn’t be happy to see you so sad.” She changed her tone and continued, “I like to think about when he and Aunt Paula took me in when my mother died of cancer. How old was I, do you remember Katy?”
Katherine shook her head as if she did not want to be bothered.
“I was eight and you were nine,” Sara answered her own question. “Do you still remember how much I used to cry then? Who wouldn’t with a dead mother and a father lost to what Mother used to call, ‘a pretty face with a rotten heart?”
“I’d hated to see you cry and I’d play you the piano. If you didn’t stop I gave you all my toys that I thought were cute.” Katherine said at last. She actually smiled at the thought.
“You were wonderful Katy. At times I felt pity for you and thought your parents were giving me more attention than you because of what I’d just gone through. Poor darling Cousy!”
Katherine’s mood changed and she said, smiling “Don’t be silly. You were like a younger sister I never had, you know. And remember how later we wouldn’t go any where without each other?”
“How can I forget? Now, as young women, we care for each other even more.” Sara was relieved that the dark moments were over.
They had already finished dressing up for the party, when suddenly Katherine had started thinking of her late father. It was her twenty-first birthday and it was bringing to mind her eighteenth one, which was the last party where her loving father spoilt her before the accident that killed him.
“Guests have started coming in. Why don’t we go downstairs and help Miriam and Theodore? asked Sara. “By the way, Aunt Paula went into town and said she will be coming late,” said Sara.
“Really? She never said to me. I thought she went to the grocery’s shop down the street.”
They both started for the door went dow the staircase and soon they were in the kitchen.
“Birthday girl! All is set, just for my little brat sis,” Theodore said, stretching out his arms towards Katherine.
She dodged him and went to join Miriam who was washing dishes by the sink, saying, “Don’t start, Theodore, I’m not in the mood.”
When all invited guests had arrived and some were beginning to wonder about the where Mrs Summerton was, a blue Nissan Serena pulled up in the driveway. She came out, locked it and called out in a loud voice so that even those inside the house could hear her:
“Hello everybody. Forgive me for not having been here to welcome you well. Thank you all for coming. Can I please have your ears.”
When all were quiet she continued,”Today Katherine turns twenty-one and in a few days we shall be commemorating her late father’s passing away. John would have bought her a car and I thought I would honour his memory….Katherine, darling, we all love you, and as a family we say, ‘happy birthday gal’, we wish you many more!
“Happy birthday….” said friends and relatives.
“Thank you Mum, thank you all, I wish Daddy was here,…”