The Search For Happiness

in #hive-1611555 days ago

I have a few things I regret in my 54 years of life. Right now, as I watched the rainfall against my window in soft patters, I am reminded of all the days I remained quiet. The opportunities I lost because I thought I had time. Headlights flashed against my window and I could not help the sigh that escaped me at the thought of who would be walking through the door.

I heard the bang of the door followed by angry footsteps. My wife. She was in one of her moods again and I am the unlucky person who would have to deal with her tonight. I turned to face her when she entered our dimly lit room. I turned off the main lights and left only the bedside lamp on. I liked the dark, she hated it.

“For the love of God, William, grow up will you? You’re not sixteen anymore.” She nagged as she switched on the lights making me squint.

“Welcome. How was work?” I replied instead. If there was anything I have learned after living with Amanda for 30 years, it was responding with kindness. Yet, for some reason, my heart broke each time I smiled. Even now, my heart twisted with some unknown emotion.

“Unbearable. Sooner or later, I will give that brat a piece of my mind.”

She was talking about Wendy. A co-worker she could not stand and who has topped her numerous times in promotions. She always told me how Wendy was a show off and making her life hell. But I have met Wendy. She is a woman in her mid-thirties with two kids, a husband who works on Wall Street and blond. All the things my wife wished she had. I sighed again. I watched her as she undressed, the bedside lamp casting a shadow on her face. Her dyed-blond locks fell around her face like a curtain, aging lines apparent and more prominent than yesterday. I swear she loses a life each day.

“Do you want coffee?” I asked, bracing myself for her scathing response. She did not fail to deliver.

“Your coffee tastes terrible William. I’ll stick to tea.” She threw her jeans into the wash bin. It was now a rough pile filled with her clothes. In the end, I will be the one to do them.

Why do I even bother? Because, it wasn’t always like this. Amanda was full of life and love. Four years younger, she was a woman of bright countenance, eyes always twinkling with mischief. Now, she was only a shadow of herself. A bitter shell of what is left from her violated soul.

I wheeled myself out of the room to the kitchen. Ever since my accident, we modified the house to fit my disability. The counters, the stairs, the rooms… everything spoke of my weakness and failure as a man. My throat suddenly felt clogged and my eyes stung. I promised to do better this year, to live, but I have forgotten how to do that.

I prepared her a cup of green tea and took it back to the bedroom to find her fast asleep. Did I take that long? I placed the cup on the table and wheeled myself to her bedside. The lamp was still on and it reflected brightly against her face, revealing streaks of tears. I sighed. My fingers caressed her cheek, the ache in my chest snowballing to something darker.

Amanda had it rough. We had twin girls. Merissa died from leukemia; Clarissa has been missing for fifteen years. We had searched even as far as Africa. As the years went by, the case went cold and so did my wife. Then I had my accident five years ago on the construction site. Amanda turned bitter. How can I make it right again? Just how do I make us work again?

“Mandy,” I whispered, my voice hoarse, “I’m in pain too. I miss them too. I feel unfortunate too. I know you can’t hear me, but I hope with all my heart, that you see how much I am still trying.” That night I went to bed too numb to feel.

The next morning, I woke up to an empty bed as usual. However, I heard the clangs of pots and pans in the kitchen. I checked the time. She was late for work. That is unlike her. I prepared to hoist myself out of bed but she came in just as I got the first leg to the ground holding a tray. She gave me a small smile, tucking her hair behind her ears. A move she made when she was nervous. I watched transfixed as she presented me with a hearty breakfast of… pancakes and a hot cup of coffee.

“What…” I started my confusion obvious. She placed the tray on the table and lifted my leg back to the bed. Then she placed the tray on my lap and proceeded to feed me. My brain was still trying to process the scene playing before my eyes. Then she spoke,

“I know you’re trying and I’m sorry that I have been blinded to only my pain. It must have been so hard for you…” she trailed off with a sniff. My eyes widened a bit. She heard me last night.

“I guess I have been dealing fine with the world as long as I could blame someone. I blamed you…” she lifted her head and pinned me with her dark brown eyes now red with tears, “and I’m sorry. I know it has been years, I do not know how we would move from here, but I want to do right by you this time. I am not saying I will change overnight or become the woman I once was, but I want to try again. I’m exhausted William…”

“Come here,” was all I said with arms open wide. In a flourish, she shifted the tray and we cuddled for the first time in years. She bawled like a baby, he body shaking violently against mine. I kissed her head, my tears flowing free as we both released years of pent up anger and frustration.

It has been two months since that fateful morning, and true to her words, she has been giving it her all. She complains less of work and sometimes, I catch a glimpse of the young woman I married before tragedy struck. She won Employee of the Month and for celebration, we were strolling to our favorite ice-cream pub. Technically, she was wheeling me down the street and we were talking about movies, dates and bad dogs. She smiled more, even laughed and I felt lighter.

We had just rounded the corner when we collided into someone, knocking them down. Amanda rushed to their aid; all I saw was the nest of red hair and dirty clothes. Mandy did not mind that.

“Are you okay?” She asked, hoisting the person up. The woman reeked but that was not important. Not to us.

“I’m fine…” came the voice, scratchy and hoarse, almost as if she has not used her vocals in months. I only saw her side profile blocked with red hair but Mandy faced her directly. I saw it before I heard her speak. Her face morphed from confusion, to recognition and then horror…

“Clarissa…” She called softly.

The young woman who was previously preoccupied with adjusting her worn out cardigan slowly lifted her head, and then took a step back.

“Clarissa. It’s Mom.”

My initial shock wore off and I turned to look at the girl and without thinking, I reached for her hand. Those eyes, they looked down at me, face covered in dirt and soot, but I knew my daughter. Clarissa stared back at me and I saw when recognition sparked in her eyes.

“Darling. We have never stopped looking for you.” I said my voice thick with emotion. Before I could say another worked, she yanked her hand away and bolted. We both yelled her name.

“After her, Mandy. Go!”

My wife ran after her like a mad woman while I wheeled myself as fast as I could. I paused and quickly dialed Detective Jones. The unwavering man who had picked up my daughters case and dragged it for as long as he could. I quickly recounted all that happened to him and he promised to meet me in twenty minutes.

As I wheeled after my wife and daughter, lost as to where they might have gone one thought occurred to me. I regret a few things in my life but I’ll be damned if I let this happiness go again.

This is my entry to the A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words Prompt on the FreeWriters Community. Lead Image by Leroy Skalstad on Pixabay.

Posted Using InLeo Alpha



Really touching story. I hope the daughter comes home to make their family whole and happier.

Thank you so much. I wish so too

At first... I thought this was really you talking 😂...

I have a few things I regret in my 54 years of life.

Then I realized that's just stupid 😂😂😂😂

Lovely story though... Is that all?

One day I will just strangle you... 😂


I'm shook. And I get what you mean now when you said you shed tears for this story. You're an amazing writer, Deraa. I hope you never forget that.

I try not to... thank you my love...

This is amazing! The ending still has me on chokehold. Dear @deraa you wrote this so perfectly. I'm glad i came across this your writeup today.

Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. I am really grateful.

There's something about your stories, whenever I read them. It's like I'm watching a movie or something.
Really emotional piece here 😊

Thank you so much Mar. I am so glad that my stories make your mind run... hehehe. Thanks again for your lovely comment

I couldn't move my eyes off while reading this story. How come so much tragedy a woman can carry ? The death of one daughter, missing of the other daughter, her husband's accident. The ending seems fine. Wish it will be. Well written.

Tears rolled! I had to control myself! My one wish is that their daughter is found, rehabiltated, so she can complete this family that has gone through a lot.
Thank you for this very beautiful story.

I promised to do better this year, to live, but I have forgotten how to do that.

Why the girl was running! They could have a happy ending, well technically they might as the story does not end here. Nicely crafted story!

I wish to know that too. Honestly, would have loved to explore her thoughts and experiences but, there is only time for one Protagonist in this story

The start I didn't like too much, perhaps because it was a bit similar to what I already read and it felt like "here we go again blame the woman' but the more I read the stronger the story and unlike the others I read so far this one is heartfelt. A big thumb up for you all that's left is the question why the daughter left, ran out again and I hope it's not because of dad.

Thanks for joining and sharing

Hi Kitty. Hehehe. I honestly wished I could explore the reasons myself. I just felt stretching it any further would take away the magic... so I let it be. Thank you 😁🌹