"But daddy I want to go on the slide?" Said the little girl excitedly as she held on to her father’s hand, the other holding a picnic basket. They had been walking through the city that day awaiting lunch with her mother. It had been awhile since they had all gone out together. But life was getting busier and busier. He just didn’t need to see this place again. It brought back too many old memories. Memories he cherished. Memories he loved. But they were memories he could never get back.
"Sorry sweetie, but we can’t play here anymore", he replied to her, trying to pull his daughter away from this place. He hated having to pass by this playground. It was no more a place for play as a cemetery is place of happiness. Every time he passed by he felt the longing eyes pierce his heart as they fell away from his grasp.
The hands he remembered were so warm, felt so blistering cold on his final touch, slipping from his grip as the man in the white coat shook his head no. It wasn’t that she couldn’t play here anymore, it was because he couldn’t. And it hurt to say no.
"Why not?" She replied so softly, so lovingly. His little girl wanted so badly to play, wanted so badly to feel alive like a child should. He could see her mother in her more everyday. The warming smile, the loving blue eyes. And her hair, blonde, slowly getting longer with every day. But he could not grant her wish, because he could not grant his own. This place was for families, they were only half.
"Because we’re not allowed to anymore", he said to her. It was all he could do to take her away. He crushed her dreams for one brief moment to protect her from it all. Protect her from the pain of real life. Protect her from the harsh realities. But it was really to protect himself. Just the sight of this joyous construction brought tears to his eyes. Heavy droplets that he fought back with all his strength to keep his daughter from noticing. It was all he could do to not break down and weep for his loss. But he held on for his daughter. He held on for his little girl. His last love.
"But it’s open?" She asked, wondering why it could not be. Wondering why her father would take it all away. They used to play here every Saturday. They were a family. She could not understand why it had to be this way. Why things had changed. She could not remember the first time she had seen her father, but she knew the last time she had seen her mother. She just didn’t understand why.
"I know sweetie, I know. Lets go see mummy", he replied as they made their way around the corner. Before them stood a simple gate to a small field of grass and stone. They stood there themselves before it’s entrance holding hands. He took a deep breath.
"Will mummy be here this time?"
"Yes she will", he lied as they entered the cemetery where her mother was buried. Where his wife was laid to rest. His little girl was still holding the picnic basket and she was still smiling. He was crying.