He sat on the recliner by the poolside close to tears, staring at the still water reflecting the moon light, surrounded by an otherwise darkened house. Sighing heavily, he slumped back against the recliner, his face facing the sky. Yes, his parents were there. Shining down at him as always. How he wished they were here with him.
It was his Parent's Death Anniversary today. After the customary Poja, he had spent the entire day with Ashar and Asmara, his little bundles of joy. They had kept the pain away. Their shrieks of delight, crazy running around, laughing and throwing things had kept his sorrow in check. He could never be sad in the company of his little angels.
After reading them their daily bedtime story, he hadn't realized when he fell asleep. He had woken up thirsty to find his 4-year-old daughter cuddling into him. He kissed her on the forehead before raising slowly, gingerly, trying to avoid making any sound. He tiptoed out of their room to drink water and on going to his room, found Khushi asleep on the bed. She had worked so hard to make the Poja perfect and perfect, it was. She knew how much this meant to him.
He knew why she hadn't woke him up and asked him to come to their room. She was probably hoping that he would sleep throughout the night if he didn't get disturbed. She had been worried about him. He had caught her throwing anxious glances his way all day.
He quietly made his way to the poolside, careful not to disturb his tired wife.
The silence around him came as a relief for a moment. But then suddenly the loneliness hit him hard. His memories of his parents came flooding back to him, their love, their care. And without warning, unexpected, convulsive sobs overtook him and he sat there with silent tears streaming down his face, his head in his hands, the grief and agony of losing his parents at such a young age, overpowering him.
Just then, he felt a small pair of arms go around his middle and a little face peered at him. He looked down at his daughter's sympathetic face and quickly wiped his tears, embarrassed to be seen crying by her.
"Asmara, I didn't know you were awake. I'm sorry, sweetie! Daddy's just a little sad tonight." He explained, trying to compose himself.
She quietly crept into his lap and then looked at him with her doe-like eyes, "Its Okay, Daddy! Its okay to cry. You're just a person."
He looked at his beautiful angel before hugging her tightly, suddenly smiling through his tears. His daughter was giving him the permission to cry. Telling him that he didn't always need to be strong, he could cry too sometimes.
"Daddy?" she asked and he pulled apart to look at her, not feeling lonely anymore.
"Yes baby?" He asked, moving her hair out of her eyes.
"Daddy, Are you sad because its your Daddy and Mum's Death..." She thought as a moment before continuing, "death's happy birthday today?" She asked innocently.
"Yes Sweetie!" He smiled slightly. "But who told you that?"
"Bhaiyya! He asked me not to worry you today because you'll be sad. Where did your Mum and Daddy go?" She asked, her eyes full of curiosity.
"You see those two stars, Princess?" He asked, pointing towards the two brightest stars in the sky. "They are there, always looking down on us."
"Really?" She asked, her eyes going round. "Your parents are up there and they can glow too? Thats so cool, Daddy!" She beamed at him.
He couldn't help the smile that spread on his face seeing his daughter's innocence. "Yes, pretty cool, huh?" He smiled before adding in a, thoughtful voice "Only problem is that, they can't come down to meet us. They can just watch us from a distance."
"Oh!" Her face fell. "Daddy I don't want you to become a star then." She said "And anyways, if you leave me then how will you cross roads by yourself?" She said.
"Huh?" Was only he could manage.
"You always hold my finger when you cross any road, right? Bhaiyya told me its cos you're scared of crossing roads by yourself." She explained simply.
He couldn't help the chuckle that left his lips as he kissed her on her cheek fervently.
"Daddy! Your chin is so scratchy." She said frowning.
"Should I shave it?" He asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
"No!" she said shaking her head and running her small fingers over his jaw. "I like it!"
"Ok Ma'am!" He brought her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm. "Now do you want to go to sleep?" He asked picking her up in his arms as he got up himself.
"Daddy, can I sleep with you tonight?" She asked and he kissed her again quickly saying "Sure Sweetie."
He quietly made her lay next to Khushi and laid down next to her.
"Daddy, my special pillow?" She asked smiling at him and he stretched his arm, as she laid her head on it, her face towards him and her arm over his chest. Her favourite position. Arnav smiled as he closed his eyes thinking he could never thank God enough for blessing him with this little bundle of sunshine that could light even the darkest of his nights.
Edited by SmileyStar - 13 July 2012 at 4:38pm