“Let’s play hide and go seek.”
The little hand nestled in his gave a tug to draw his attention down. His heart cracked a little more at the sweet expression on her face, her dark curls riotous like her.
“We can’t right now, baby.” He took a breath before he continued. “We have to stay here with mama for a little while longer.”
Her brow creased, her lips pursing before she turned in her seat to look ahead. He could see her trying to process, the ache in his chest growing to unbearable proportions.
“Will mama get up soon to play?”
He glanced across the aisle separating him from his wife. His eyes traced the familiar lines of her face, beautiful in their stillness. A sob bubbled up as the partition off the casket cut of his view of the body he knew so well. He barely tamped it down, the agony so strong he pressed a hand to his chest. It didn’t abate at all
She’d left too fast. Left before he could see more children with her eyes and his hair. Her utter stillness scraped at his soul.
A little hand wrapped around his fingers and squeezed. It focused him enough to turn his gaze back to his girl.
“She can’t, baby. I wish she could, but she can’t.”
Her tiny nod of understanding hurt more than her confusion. They’d both lost their innocence with his wife’s passing and he didn’t know if they’d ever function properly again.