I open my eyes and look around, laying still. Is it morning already? To my right I see my eldest daughter is sitting up, her back to me, facing the wall. Both girls have been sleeping with me every night lately. They refuse to sleep in their own room, in their cozy bunkbeds.
I wince without my glasses and prop myself up.
She turns slowly and I see her little face is wet. Her eyes, usually bright and inviting, are dark and glistening with grief.
“What happened?” I say.
She lets out a sob, “daddy!”
My heart plunges down and pierces into my heaving belly. I move towards her, over my younger daughter and wrap her up in my arms. I want to scoop her back into my womb where I can keep her safe from all this pain.
She looks up at me and says, “I had a bad dream.”
“Do you want to share it with me?”
“It was about daddy. I dreamed that I went back in time. He was sitting on the couch at Papa’s house. I went over to him and whispered in his ear what was going to happen to him, to warn him. I asked him to please be healthy. I didn’t want to come back to the future, mommy.”
She continues to cry.
“I know”, I tell her, “I know.”
She looks into my eyes, pleading. Wipes her face on the sleeve of her blue astronaut pyjamas.
“I wish I was a doctor”, she says, “so I could’ve saved daddy.”
I look back into her eyes, big and round like his, unable to find the right words.
“Maybe when you’re big, you can be a doctor and save lots of people”, I offer.
“Maybe…” she ponders briefly. “Did daddy have a good doctor? Did they give him medicine?”
“Yes”, I tell her, “he had lots of good doctors and they helped him very much. They did everything they could.”
She shifts her body and lays her head down on the bunched up comforter.
“It’s not fair, mommy.”
I place my hand on her head and comb her thick, dark hair with my fingers. Talia snores softly beside us.
“It’s not”, I say.
“I don’t want to go back to sleep”, she decides, “can I stay with you?”
“Always”, I tell her.
We head downstairs to cuddle on the couch. I open the blinds and let in the morning sun. Another day without him.
Something will always feel wrong.