I remember when there use to be five of us. I would get up every morning to the sound of him whistling and the smell of sweet buttery pancakes in the air. I’d get up, and walk into the kitchen to see him frying pancakes and whistling a familiar song, unaware of my presence. I would sneak up around him and steal one of those soft pieces of heaven stacked on the plate. He would give me one of his famous smiles and a pat on the head. We would talk about how I saved the world from an evil monster made out of dreaded broccoli by using my super strength to fling it into space, and then he would explain to me how it was only a dream and that monsters are not real. I would be reassured and we would laugh it off. Those stolen moments with him where mine, and only for me. Same routine every day until I was 12, then one morning I woke up to nothing. There was no whistling. There was no smell of pancakes. There was no one there to listen to my dreams. There was no one there to convince me for the day that monsters were nonexistent.
I remember when I use to come home from school crying because a classmate made fun of me. He would always be there to make me feel better. He would sit me down on my bed and kneel down in front of me, and tell me the same old story. This story was about a very special girl who did not fit in, and could not understand why. Her father, who is a wizard, would look into her future and see her surrounded by people who love her and accept her unconditionally. He saw her beautiful and strong, brave and courageous, humble and kind. He reassured her that sure things are tough now but eventually things get better. She would ask how he knew such things and he would respond with, “I’m your dad, and us dads, we know these things.” And so she grew, she got older and she met new people. She met village folk, dukes and nobles, and creatures of all races. She gained friends and she lost some, but through it all the same four people stood by her through everything, she was surrounded by people who love her. Every time I would hear that story, I would fill up with joy. I would go to school the next day with confidence and determined to make that day great. I wanted to be like that princess, brave and kind. He would give me hope of a better future. Whenever I was sad, he would hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay. I almost believed him, until one afternoon, I got home and he was not there. There was no one there to cry to. There was no one there to help me feel better. There was no one there to sit me down and tell me a story. There was no one there to reassure me of a better tomorrow.
I remember when he used to bring our family together at the dinner table. He would ask my sister and me about our day, and how we felt. My sister would always say it was great and that school was fun but I on the other hand was always a different story. He taught me to express myself and not be afraid of what other people have to say so I was not afraid. I told him everything; how I told a classmate I didn’t like him because he wouldn’t share his toys, I told the teacher she was mean because she didn’t let me teach the class and how I told the lunch lady that I didn’t like the pizza so if she could make better food the next day. He would always laugh at what I had to say and told me I was part of the light in his soul; I never understood what that meant. I was too young to get it. Once my stories were over, we would eat dinner and talk about the next day and what we want from it. This was a tradition, something we did at every dinner until one night he just was not there. There was no one to bring us together at the dinner table. There was no one to ask me how my day was and how it made me feel. There was no one to laugh at my stories and understand me. There was no one to say I was important.
I still dream of those days, when life seemed almost perfect, when life seemed complete. I was too young to understand what happened, all I knew was that he just was not there. As time passed by, I would look back and remember things. As I grew older, I realized things. It wasn’t the whistling that woke me up every morning, it was the yelling. I would listen and listen to my parents going back and forth, over and over again. I would close my eyes and wait, I’d hear the whistle and know it was over. I’d come home crying after school because my classmate made fun of me, saying that my parents didn’t love each other. They would all say that their parents told them that my parents are bad and shouldn’t be together because of their fights in front of school and their children. Well, they got what they wanted. I woke up one morning and he wasn’t there. He left and never came back, taking the smell of sweet buttery pancakes with him.