Superman...Santa Claus.

The tears seemed to just keep coming. Her eyes were red and raw from wiping the endless cascade away from her eyes. She felt more than sadness, more than loss, to her the world seemed less of a place to live without him. Every memory, every thought that included him brought more tears.

Her first memory of the giant smile was when she was three. He was there to frighten away the bad things under her bed. He always checked under the bed, right up until she was twelve.

That was when she finally told him she was okay. His face contorted to that of a wounded puppy, the tear slipped from his eye before he had a chance to wipe it away. She remembered that she felt like she had said something terribly wrong to him.

“Right then, I will just say goodnight,” he said quickly and left the room.

After he seemed more distant than he was before. She still loved him as much as she ever did, but he seemed different. It took her years to realize why he acted different. He felt less than superman when she said she didn’t need him. It took away the child and moved her toward the adult…at least to him.

Even so he was her defender, her confidant, as well as her father. He drove her to her first date, drove her to the prom, gave her away when she wed. He was always there with his twinkly eyes and warm bearded smile. He cried when she gave him a granddaughter. He loved spending time in her garden, making sure everything grew for his girl. He would even sit with her and say nothing, just be there because she wanted him there.

She held him when her mother died. Comforted the man lost in grief. She marvelled at the love the man had in him. She never once thought ill of him. He was her father, even as he aged from superman to santa claus. She smiled watching him treat her own daughter as he had her. Even cried the first time he shoo’d the monsters from under the bed as he had for her.

She couldn’t blame him for keeping the cancer to himself. he was too gentle to cause pain. He just let it go until he was too thin to not come clean. She felt horror and sadness when he told her and as the days past he worsened.

She made sure to see him every day. To hold his hand. The doctors marvelled at how he recognized her, in all other respects his memory was gone, but he held her in his mind until he died.

And now she sat alone. No one tried to comfort her, not even her own daughter. She needed time to let the man go, let him wash over her memories. She would never forget him, her superman, her santa claus, her father.

“I love you Daddy,” she spoke to her hands…remembering how much he loved his little girl.

Superman...Santa Claus.

Paul Rees-Jones

Toronto, Canada

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Artist's Description

Yes it is a bit sad…but in remembering we find some happiness.

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