The dull tick of the clock echoed around the kitchen bouncing off the faded white walls. Sarah stared notches in the dusty floorboards, the same floorboards that used to creak as Lily’s little feet pattered over them. She could still hear the laughter of her little girl. That high pitched squeal of excitement illuminating the hallway, as contagious as it was loud.
Sarah felt the sting of a tear emerge in the corner of her eyes and quickly inhaled, carefully wiping it away so not to smudge her mascara. She had to look her best. Today was the day.
She glanced at the clock again. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. The hand was moving in slow motion. She willed it to move faster, wishing she could fast forward the next twenty minutes. Instead, she stood up and subconsciously rearranged the flowers in the vase. Roses. Lily’s favourite. Sarah had picked them from the old rose bush in the front garden, the sweet aroma washing memories of days gone by over her. Lily chasing the cat across the grass and into the agapanthus, while Sarah pulled the stubborn weeds from the soil. John washing the car, squirting Lily with the hose as she darted past. She smiled, another tear escaping from her grey eyes as she pined for those days that she would never have again.
Still the clock’s monotonous ticking hung heavy in the still summer air, its sharpness now beginning to get under Sarah’s skin making it prickle uncomfortably. She walked over and switched on the kettle, pulled down a cup from the cupboard above and unwound a teabag. She wondered if Lily liked tea? Did she like it sweet and milky like herself, or strong and black like John? There were so many things she didn’t know about her daughter. So many years, so many thousand kilometers between them.
The kettle switched off and she poured the boiling liquid onto the teabag watching it float to the top. She couldn’t stop the tears now. ‘Silly old woman’, she thought. She wished John were here. He would wrap his strong arm around her now frail shoulders. They wouldn’t need any words.
Why did he have to leave her? So suddenly, so unexpectedly. Life wasn’t fair.
Her heart was conflicted with loss and grief for her husband, and longing and joy to see her long lost daughter.
The sweet, soft voice startled her. It sounded so different when not obstructed by such distance and cabling. Sarah turned to see Lily. Picture perfect in a floral sundress, her eyes welling with tears, creased at the corners and her beautiful smile that Sarah had missed oh so much.
‘My Lily,’ Sarah cried her voice breaking. She held her daughter close. Nothing could take this moment from her. Not even the tick tock of the clock.
This piece of fiction is inspired by a monthly link up I am part of called ‘Writer’s Reveal’ where bloggers and writers swap ideas and prompts for a blog post each month. It doesn’t have to be fiction, we have free reign to write whatever we feel compelled and inspired to write. This month I was inspired by Emily at You Learn Something New Every Day who offered me the words: ‘Tick Tock’.