Ring! Ring! Ring! Rin… the alarm clock sounded its residual cry of 7:00 a.m. as a brooding hand smashed its cry into silence.
“Joyce, time to get up,” William grumbled as he threw the covers of in an effort to start his day.
“Okay,” said the voice hiding beneath the covers.
In the mirror he saw his five-a-clock shadow greet him as he brushed his teeth.
“You know,” he said between brushing, “I think… we could… go out today… being Saturday… we could go to the park… so I could… spend some time… with Chloe…”
“That would be a great idea, I know she would love that”
“Then it’s settled” a grin overcoming his face as he said it.
After dressing and walking to the kitchen to prepare breakfast a five year old bursted into the room yelling and screaming at the top of her lungs “Can’t we leave for the park now!!!”
“After breakfast we can spend all day if you want” he said gingerly to the energetic child.
“But I want to go now…” the child said discouragingly.
“Chloe I’m almost done making the pancakes,” flipping the last one in the pan into the air and on a plate.
“Pankies!” she squealed flailing her arms into the air in excitement.
“Joyce! Breakfast!” he called as he watched her descend the stairs.
He held his arms out and she fell into his embrace.
“Everytime I see you come down I fall in love with you all over again.”
“I know” she said sweetly kissing his cheek.
They sat down and ate watching their child create a gigantic mess with the food that was suppose to be her breakfast.
“You know, some of that should go in your mouth, and then you should close it, chew and eat it”
“Your dad has a point”
But their words were lost to the air and the young girl kept ripping the pancakes into pieces, giving each piece its own name and bringing her new found character to life as she dunked them into syrup and swiftly disappeared into her mouth.
After everyone was done eating and everything put away and cleaned William gathered a picnic blanket while Joyce packed snacks in a bag. Chloe raced around them.
“Woah, save your energy for the park” he said as he swung down and raised her off the ground swinging her.
She giggled in his arms and continued to do so long after he had set her down.
“You two should save that for the park too” Joyce said watching the pair and going over everything they had put together.
“You’re the boss” he said slightly out of breath.
The family started out towards the park, swinging the child between them as they made their way. All the while talking about the possibilities of today and perhaps tomorrow; unknown to the child happily singing unaware that they neither listened nor missing a word of what she sang.
“Chloe go play” but before Joyce could even finish Chloe was already gone and lost in the world the park toys held for her.
“Be careful” he called after her as she raced out of sight. “Do you think we should go in after her?”
“To risky soldier, by the time we find her we’ll be captured ourselves”
“True, so then what should we do?”
“Wait until she comes to us. Should be no more than a few minutes from now.”
“She’s beautiful isn’t she”
“Of course she is”
They laid out the blanket lost in the quiet stillness of their conversation. A kind of quiet that was unexpected yet welcomed when it had arrived. Often they would sit like this, everything unspoken yet in that space of pure harmony they had said everything. In times like this William liked to drift into his own mind to mill around his own thoughts. It was the only time he could really reflect without disturbance and look at Joyce who was also lost to the realm of her own mind.
She’s so beautiful because she has someone like you for her mother he resettled himself sitting and leaned forward on his arms getting a better view of his love I’m still surprised you fell for someone like me.
Several years ago I walked into the Two Whales dinner and there you were.
“What can I get for you?” the women asked in the typical manner any waitress would.
“Well, what’s the best thing on the menu?”
“The pancakes, but then again I make them”
“I bet you I can make them better, pancakes are my specialty” he said grinning at her.
“Impossible” she said waving off any air of doubt.
“I swear they are… maybe someday I can make you some?’ he said as his face flushed red, embarrassed that he had even said it at all.
“After a couple of dates I would be delighted” she said as she wrote down his order and turned to walk away.
We hardly just met and you already had my heart.
“Honey?” Joyce said concerned as he began to reel back into the present.
“Nothing you just seemed so lost”
“Just in thought”
She smiled at him like she had hundreds of times before and like every time without fail he smiled back at her. She turned to look at Chloe climbing over everything the park offered as an obstacle. He continued to watch her.
Then after that day it felt like we were inseparable, as cliche as that sounds, but after that day it seems like we were always apart of each others lives.
“Do you remember our honeymoon?”
“How could I forget? You, me, the baby. All of us in San Francisco. It was wonderful”
“It was wasn’t it?”
He stretched out and lay there enveloped in the feeling that memory carried.
I don’t think I ever saw anyone more beautiful, and everyday after I still think that. And now we have a beautiful daughter who’s eating sand… wait, is she eating sand?
“Joyce is Chloe eating sand?” he asked as he fell out of thought and watched as his bundle of joy continues to shovel heap after heap of sand into her mouth.
“I’ll go stop her” she said chuckling at the actions of her wee one.
I don’t know how anyone could ask for anything more. Everything I have now is perfect.
I’m going to enjoy watching her grow up.