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Jennifer Wu

‘Emily, I’d be lying to you if I said I don’t miss him.’

Glancing across the table, you look up to see your daughter

wearing an expression far too innocent for her sixteen years. You

sigh—she’s always been oblivious and much too optimistic, so much

so that it’s landed her in the principal’s office at least six times this

month. As you scan her face, the striking resemblance she shares

with her late father becomes apparent, and to be quite frank, you

still can’t look her in the eyes without hearing his voice. Swallowing

the lump in your throat, you ask Emily what she’d like to ask about

him. You already know, but you need to get the words out, for fear of

those damn tears falling. What she says next, however, is nothing

close to what you predicted.

‘Did you love him?’

And, oh, you hadn’t expected such an innocent question, so naive,

and it makes your eyes glaze over with a film of fresh tears. You can

feel the lump bobbing in your throat grow bigger and you struggle to

push down the sob that wracks your body. Releasing a shaky breath,

you nod.

‘Of course, Em. I loved him more than anything.’

She nods, as if she can’t tell that you’re basically breaking down

right in front of her. It’s happened more than once, and she’s learnt

to just leave you be. This time, when you look back at her, she’s

peering out the window, and you let your eyes follow hers. It’s a clear

night sky, you realise, and the revelation prompts a new set of painful

memories to be brought to the forefront of your troubled mind—

memories that take you back to the night before the accident.

You were both twenty-four, still in the ‘honeymoon phase’ and

the world was at your feet. It was that night, however, that you still

remember so well, in the most vivid detail. He was laying on the

grass outside, and naturally, you were there with him. Conversation

started out playfully and there was the usual banter, but as the world

slowed to a stop, the only sound heard was your heartbeats and the

slow, even tempo of his breathing. He sat up, facing you with a look

in his eyes that you’d never seen before, and you still can’t quite

figure out what it was. And then he said something that you don’t

think you’ll ever be able to forget.

‘Look at the stars. Start counting them; when you’re done, that’s when I’ll stop

loving you.’

Seeing your confused expression, his mouth stretched into a