Life Goes On

“Oh. Okay, I see. Well, another time then. What about winter break? Oh, of course, I understand. Well, don’t worry, honey. We’ll figure something out. Love you.” I slowly lower my phone and let it clatter onto the counter with a sad, soft thunk.

Hearing my daughter’s voice, so grown-up and sophisticated, all I can see is my little girl. I picture her tangled pigtails flying, the clashing colors of the outfit she picked out all by herself, her bare feet pitter-pattering down the hall. 

Running my hand along the counter she leaned on, cooked on, sat on, I wander into the hallway and find myself standing in front of a door decorated with about a pound of glitter and an “ENTER IF YOU DARE” sign. I turn the knob and it creaks open, echoing sharply throughout the house. 

I stand in the doorway, letting my gaze wander over the piles of memories. There’s her desk, with the swirly floral journal she doodled in when she got tired of homework, a jar of unsharpened pencils, a real goose-feather quill she begged me for but never ended up using.

She took most of her photos with her, but a few remain, tacked up in various locations throughout the room. There’s one of her when she was four or five, riding a pony for the first time at a friend’s birthday party and looking thoroughly unhappy. A more recent picture shows the two of us posing in front of a waterfall during our trip to Norway. 

Besides the desk, the only pieces of furniture left are a ragged purple armchair and the bed. The armchair has obviously been on the receiving end of one (or several) of our cat’s temper tantrums, although I can easily imagine my daughter curled up there with her Kindle and a mug of hot cocoa on a long winter afternoon.

The bed is neatly made, lined with all the stuffed animals and dolls my daughter deemed too embarrassing to travel with to college. I reach over and gently cradle a fuzzy stuffed rabbit in my arms. Hoppy, I think, was its name. 

Sighing deeply, I slump down on the bed, ignoring the wrinkles that instantly squiggle across the sheets. My vision blurs and tears start rolling down my cheeks before I have time to blink them away. Why did she have to leave? I know. So she can be successful, and seize the brilliant future ahead of her. Life goes on, and I know I must accept that. Our loved ones come and leave and disappear in an instant. 

I feel so lost without her, but I grasp the one remaining thought that brings me comfort: she is happy, and that is all that matters.

Posted in response to the challenge Nest.



14 years old