“Art, how did daddy die?”
The question catches Art a bit off guard because that’s the last thing he’d expect a ten year old girl that’s been playing in silence on her own on his living room floor for the past few minutes to suddenly say. He waits a moment to see if she really means to receive an answer or not and when she puts down the items in her hands and looks up at him, it becomes obvious that she does.
“There was a man once…” Art swallows as he sits down on the floor in front of her and looks her right in the eyes. “There was a weak, foolish…scared old man that your father once cared very deeply for” he says softly because she deserves to know, regardless whether she remembers it or not as she ages. “And the man loved your father too, very, very much, but he just didn’t know how to show it sometimes” Art lowers his gaze to his hands but continues without stop, “And even when everyone else thought your dad was an evil coward, this man, he did his best to believe in your dad and help him, but like I said the man was weak…and he didn’t hold on long enough. He didn’t have faith long enough till one day it was too late and he was in a lot of danger. And your dad, the man that everyone thought was a coward, put his truly brave heart on the line, he put himself in the way of the danger so he could save the old man like the true hero he was, do you understand?”
Pandora nods absentmindedly. “Is the old man still alive today?”
“Unfortunately, yes” Art sighs, looking back up to the child. When she seems to be done, Art pushes himself off the floor intending to go about his business and brush the thoughts of the tale he’d told from his mind. But he stops when Pandora calls for him once again. ”Yes?”
“Why did people think daddy was an evil coward?”
Art opens his mouth to articulate a response, but closes it again and begins to leave the room. “That’s a story for another day, love.”