Claire missed the kisses on the cheek that woke her every morning, and the kisses on the forehead that put her to sleep every night. Claire missed the soft smile that appeared every time she was glanced at. Claire missed the warm bread that awaited her every morning on the glass table. Claire even missed the smell of lemons from her mother’s apron. But, mostly, Claire missed that last afternoon.”
Seven-year-old Claire had just woken up-it being a Sunday, and having slept quite late the night before. They had hosted a banquet to celebrate Claire’s father’s promotion, not that Claire understood what that meant. The baby in the house yelled again, whining. Claire, as she lay in her puffy bed staring at the intricate, soft pink ceiling, heard the rushed footsteps passing her door to attend to the baby. Someone had opened up Claire’s curtains in the morning, the sunlight hit her eyes, and to avoid them, Claire jumped up and left the bed.
Blinking in the brightly lit house, Claire made her way to the baby’s room, which was also her parents’. The door was wide open-Claire saw her mother leaning over the baby’s crib. Claire brushed aside her short chestnut hair. The baby gurgled upon seeing Claire. Claire’s mother turned back. She smiled a golden, kind smile, “Good morning, Clairey, how was your night?” Claire wobbled to her mother, who lifted her up, and smiled back, “Wonderful, Mama! I dreamt that you, me, Papa, and Baby were all in a big green garden, and you were spinning, and it was foggy, and Papa was carrying me, and Baby was laughing, and-and-an-” Almost as if in response, baby released a small little chuckle, to which both Claire and her mother starting laughing.
“Where’s Papa?” Claire suddenly remembered. She didn’t want Papa to miss such a happy moment.
“Papa’s gone boating! He’ll bring back many fish for us.” Mama explained.
Claire loved to see the fish that Papa brought back. There scales shone all the colors in the rainbow when the light hit them. So majestic, she would think. Then there were patterns on fishes that Claire thought were beautiful, and often tried to copy them in her artwork. Claire’s favorite was the catfish-she thought the whiskers made it look cute. Although she loved seeing them, she felt bad that such pretty little creatures had to die.
“But Mama! I don’t want the fishies to die! Again!” Claire whined.
The baby gave a little wail, almost as if he agreed.
Mama paused for a while in thought, “You see, Claire, all the living things on this planet have a fate, and they d-” The doorbell chimed in interruption. Claire, thinking that it was her Papa, sprinted to the wooden-carved door, past her room, the kitchen, the dining hall, and the lobby. Claire tugged on the handle, but the door wouldn’t budge. She tried once again, but the door remained still like a stubborn bull. Claire noticed the lock was still on, but too high for Claire to reach. The doorbell chimed impatiently again, “I’m trying!” Claire yelled through the door. Her mother came just in time, and opened the door.