His daughter was so beautiful. She was growing into a lovely young woman. A woman of substance. He was immensely proud of her. She was standing next to the bicycle rack, wearing her red coat over her short, black dress and black nylons. She was staring down at a cone of strawberry ice cream, her favorite flavor. She looked like she was about to take a taste.
He wanted to take her picture and stepped away from her to frame her in the shot. A second after he clicked the shutter button, the old man, far too old to be behind the wheel of a two ton vehicle, mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake.
It was over in an instant. And she was gone. She literally didn’t know what hit her. At least she didn’t suffer. But he did. He suffered every single day since the incident.
She was everywhere he was, looking exactly as she had that day. She always looked so real, so lifelike, so young, so innocent. Of course, it was an apparition. It was his mind, his heart, playing tricks on him. Hurtful tricks. Mean and nasty tricks. Hadn’t he suffered enough?
Why was she haunting him like this? Did she blame him? If he hadn’t stepped away to take her picture, he might have been able to save her, to push her out of harm’s way. He was her father. It was his job to protect her. He had failed.
It should have been him and not her.