A Father's Regret
His hands were big and rough. However, they gave out warmth as he grabbed her hands when she was shivering from the coldness of the chilling weathers. She loved it when the pair of strong arms of her father pulled her into a hug. And she only felt safe and enjoyed when it was her father who played up-a-daisy with her.
For Kai, her father is the best in her heart.
However, there were moments when the little girl found herself hating the man who is her father. The man who isn't there when she wished he will be there.
Her father is self-centered, reckless and a liar.
He had lied to her countless times and always made promises that he couldn't kept.
During her birthdays and her proud moments, he had missed all of them.
He thought he would be forgiven when he gave his daughter an apology smile and a pat on her head. However, he did not pay enough attention at his little girl to notice the invisible tears formed in her eyes when she forced a grin of forgiving at him.
A man walked down the street with a smile plastering on his face. His meeting had just finished a while ago and he was finally free for the rest of the day before another rushing day filled with work welcome him tomorrow. Right now, all he want is to go back to his comfy hotel room and have a good nap.
However, the business man's good mood disappeared when he stops on his track, seeing a group of five teenage girls making their ways out from the nearby café.
Four of the teenagers are sipping their cold beverages while chit-chatting happily, while the last one; who is a blacked haired girl is slowly following behind them with an opened book is on her left hand while her right hand is holding on her drink.
When he saw the girl, his breath hitched. The man suddenly feels an incredible urge to run to her and pull the teenager into his arms. He feels an unknown yet familiar longing to be included into the girl's life.
"Hey, Kai." One of the four girls turned around and called out. "Stop reading or we are going to ditch you behind."
The other three girls laugh at the joke while the Asian girl, who goes with the name 'Kai' frown at her friends before she close her book and stuff it into her bag and look up.
Her warm chocolate orbs immediately clashed with his midnight blue eyes in surprise.
"… Girls, I forget my phone in the café. " The teenager turned her attention towards her group of friend as she lied. "I will go back and pick it up. Don't worry, I will catch up you guys later."
The other girls waved their hands to her before they started to walk away. At the moment when the group of teenagers is away from the sight, the black haired girl turned her attention towards the businessman.
"You didn't change a lot, Papa." The girl said with a smile, but the deep disappointment burned in her eyes betrayed her emotions.
The man, who is her blood-related father, stares at her. Wide-eyed, surprised and disbelieving at how much his daughter had changed from the clingy little girl to a grown up teenager who dared to bare her fists against her father.
"For fifteen years," the daughter mumbles bitterly under her breath, swallowing her need of slamming her fists against something. "I hated myself for loving and forgiving an unworthy father who always placed his work at the top of his heart instead of his family, who always thought that it was not wrong to lie to his daughter and who abandoned his daughter when she was suffering from asthma in the hospital." Her tone wavered, filling with pain.
The father flinches at the cold tone used by his daughter to him. He shakily reaches his hand out and said. "K-Kai, you don't understand! Back then, there is a serious emergency in my work-"
"Is your work more important than me?!" the teenager backed away before she snaps loudly, interrupting her father. Her eyes are filled with angry tears as she glares at him.
"You're a selfish man, Papa." Those words come out in a whisper, almost a whimper. "You never understand what I need. I don't need a father who thinks that his work is more important than his family. I want a father who could be by my side when I needed him."
The girl let out a shaky breath as she uses her left palm to cover her tears filled eyes.
"I've had enough of your lies. I don't want to think or care anymore." she mumbles hoarsely. "Please don't try to act like you care for me. Ten years ago, the moment you step out of the medical room and rush back to your work, is the moment that you have lose Mum and me forever in your life."
The father could only stare in shock as his daughter walk past him and away from his life once again.
The Asian man blinked as he glanced down to look at his sleepy daughter who was holding the plastic bag filled with the grocery items his wife had asked them to buy from the nearby supermarket. He gave a soft smile to the girl as he used his free hand to ruffle her long wavy hair.
"What is it, Kai?" he questioned softly.
The child in his arm nuzzled her cheek against his chest as she kept her vision on the beautiful scenery of the starry sky above her.
"I love you, Papa." The girl's eyelids were already starting to close slowly as she mumbled sleepily. "Papa won't leave Kai alone again, right? Papa will stay with Kai, right?" the child could feel sleepiness overcame her as she settled her head on her father's chest. "Promise me. Okay, Papa?"
The businessman felt his heart clenched as he listened to his daughter's plead. All of sudden, the father felt lost in his own mind. There was a very important meeting he needed to attend tomorrow at the neighbor city.
He won't make it if he stayed up tonight with his daughter.
"I promise, Kai."
However, a small lie to his daughter won't hurt, right?
"… Is that so?" his daughter asked as she gave him a smile.
It was the dazzling happy smile that she only showed for him; her father.
And he can't help but to feel a bit guilty for lying to his daughter again.
"Kai loves Papa the most."
The man's eyes snap opened, droplets of tears are trickling down his pale cheeks as he quickly wipes them dry with his right palm. Once his vision is clear again, his dark blue eyes immediately scanned through his messy room and his gaze stopped at the picture of his daughter placed in a frame on his working desk.
The one and only picture of his daughter have always reminded him of those wonderful days when he still have his wife and daughter with him. If it wasn't because of his selfiness of chasing after his own dream, he won't have lose them.
"Please don't try to act like you care for me. Ten years ago, the moment you step out of the medical room and rush back to your work, is the moment that you have lose Mum and me forever in your life."
The single man continues to stare at the picture before he ran his hand through his messy hair. A painful smile spread on his face as he laughs out bitterly.
"It's too late, is it…?" he murmured, tears threatening to fall from his eyes. "She changed so much it hurts."