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It was the first time in years. Maybe it was years, she didn’t know. She couldn’t remember the last time that he was this happy after she left, after she had left both of them. He became so devastated. It had been so long ago, since he was this happy. He even gave her a kiss goodbye on the cheek when she left the house for school. She could remember that the last time that he had even acknowledged her was her birthday a year ago. He had given her twenty dollars. He had forgotten about her since. She wondered what had made him so happy again. He had acted strangely affectionate about a week or so ago. She didn’t know, maybe it was a week. She hardly even cared anymore. She hardly even cared about anything at all, only about her, the one who had left them behind. Everyday had been a daze for her. She didn’t hear anything anymore. She didn’t see anything anymore. She didn’t feel anything anymore, nothing at all. It had been years since that incident, but she couldn’t forget her or anything from that time. She supposed that back then she was happy. She supposed that back then she cared too, but not anymore. Nothing mattered anymore, nothing at all.
She got back from school. She had come home the same way everyday. She had dropped her backpack and uniform blazer in front of the foyer closet, like she had everyday. She called out to him the way she had everyday. She walked into the kitchen to get a drink like she had everyday. Everyday since she had left, since she had left them both to drown in their own desolation, but she had been happy back then. She reached the kitchen and noticed a bouquet, a bouquet of crimson roses and a single sunflower on the kitchen counter. Sunflowers, she remembered, once had been her favorite flower, but then she had left. Curiosity overtook her and she peered into the card that lay next to roses. It read:
For you, the one that made me happy again. Thank you.
The writing was in his scrawl. It was messy, but full of feeling. She wondered if this was the reason why he had been acting so strangely. She wondered who this bouquet of roses and card was supposed to be given to. Then she heard noise, noise that came from the backyard door. She turned around and her eyes widened at the sight before her.
There was a woman. She had brown hair and brown eyes. She was dressed in a pale yellow summer dress, a jacket adorned her shoulders, and she was laughing. But the thing that caught her attention the most, the thing that astounded and shocked her, was him. Him, who had been so devastated, who had lamented over that day when she had left, and who had not spoken a word to her since, was smiling. She couldn’t even believe her eyes. He was smiling. He had his arms wrapped around the woman’s shoulders. There was suddenly a bark-like noise, a noise that seemed to have gone hoarse with no use. Finally she realized what that noise was. It was his laugh, a sound that she never believed that she would hear again. Suddenly the woman began to speak. It seemed to be a conversation about her, but she didn’t really care at the moment. She only cared about his smile.
“You liar,” the woman said with a small smile on her face, “you never told me that she was this pretty,”
It seemed that the woman was joking with him.
“Sorry, but I really wanted you to meet her yourself,” he laughed, “I didn’t want to tell you everything, I wanted you to find out yourself.”
She listened to that sound again, the sound of him laughing. He seemed really happy. The woman looked over to her and seemed to study her for a while. Then the woman seemed surprised for some reason.
“I’m so sorry!” the woman exclaimed.
The woman abruptly broke from the envelopment of his arms and walked over to her and took her hand. The woman shook it quickly up and down, then smiled brilliantly again.
“I must seem so rude, I haven’t even introduced myself to you yet!” the woman said, “Hello, I’m Lisa. It’s very nice to meet you.”
The woman smiled again, but this time it was different. It was caring and kind. She looked over to him. He was smiling again, too. It was a small smile, but she could tell that it was there nevertheless.
“Oh!” the woman said suddenly, letting go of her hand, “I almost forgot,”
The woman walked over to the kitchen counter and picked up the sunflower lying next to the roses. The woman glanced at the bouquet for a moment and turned around to face her once more.
“Here, it’s for you. I heard from someone that you liked them, so I decided to pick one for you,” the woman said with a quiet smile and a wink while holding the flower up for her.
She took the sunflower. She remembered how they smelled, how they looked in the sun, and how they reminded her of when she was happy. She gazed at the sunflower in her hands affectionately. She glanced up to see the woman once again being held by him in his arms. The woman was smiling up at him and he was looking back with warm eyes. He really did seem happy. Finally, she understood. She understood everything, why he was so happy, why the woman was here, and why they were together in front of her. She understood it all. She glimpsed at the bouquet of red roses and the card written in his messy scrawl on the kitchen counter. Then she peered down at the sunflower being held in her hands.
“Thank you,” she said appreciatively.
Then she looked up at both of them. They looked back at her. She watched the woman, Lisa, beam enthusiastically. Then she turned towards him and saw a slow smile appear on his face.
“I hope you’re happy,” she said quietly, “I really do, Dad.”
“I am,” her father replied, the grin still on his face.
She walked over to the couple before her. They both drew her into their arms. The woman, Lisa, embraced her tightly. Her father pulled her into a loving hug and kissed the top of her head. After a while they broke from their tender embrace. It was the first time in a long while since she had felt. It was the first time in a long while since she had felt happy. She noticed there was a familiar tug on her lips. She gripped her sunflower tightly, bringing it up to her face. She stared at the flower for a moment and finally realized what the tug on her lips was.
It was a smile.