23 January 2010


Faith stood behind the white starting line, staring down the track.
The lines painted on the ground shimmered in the heat, dazzling her eyes.

She tightened her crossed arms, hugging herself numbingly.

This felt so familiar, yet new at the same time.
She could imagine actually sprinting down the track, but could no longer remember the buzz that used to go with it.

It's been a while...
She put her backpack down on the ground, stacking her books beside it.
Bending down, she tightened her shoelaces.

She knelt at the starting line and closed her eyes.
In her mind's eye, she saw the other runners.
The sun shined down mercilessly, heating the ground all around her.
The whistle blew shrilly in her imagination.

And she ran.

The wind rushed past her ears, blocking out any other sounds.
Her hair flew out behind her; her legs getting back their long-lost rhythm.
Arms pumping at her sides, she took great gasps of air as she ran towards the end of the track.

Dashing past the line, she came slowly to a stop.
As she panted for air, she waited.

Waited for the adrenaline rush to hit her.
Waited for the excitement to gush through her veins.
Waited for the exhilarating joy that came to her every time she ran.


All she felt was the blistering heat and the usual emptiness that followed her around everywhere she went.

Who am I kidding?
She thought.
It's never going to be the same.

She dragged her feet back to the other end of the track, picked up her backpack and books and made her way home.

10 January 2010


She bolted upright on her bed.
It felt stuffy and she was sweating lightly.
Throwing her covers to the floor, Faith sank back onto her pillows.
Only the same old dreams - she stood alone, darkness all around her while Daddy's voice called out to her - she'd gotten used to them already.

At least I'm not screaming anymore, she thought.

She glanced at the bedside clock:

Wondering vaguely if Reece'd come home yet, she turned over and tried to go back to sleep.


 The next time she took a look at the time, Faith was late for school.

Rolling off the bed, she tried to hurry to get ready.
Not that she cared much about being late to school, but another call from the Principal asking for her mother would be unnecessary trouble.

Not bothered to brush her hair, she just pulled her arms through a random T-shirt and put on a pair of faded jeans.
She hooked her index finger through her backpack, dragging it behind her as she headed out the front door.


Feeling the usual tired fogginess, Faith stared at the whiteboard, hardly registering the fact that Madam Lee had already begun her lesson.

She wasn't a brilliant student, but she'd tried for Daddy's sake.
Now that he was... Gone... She just didn't try anymore.
In fact, she didn't continue trying at anything else anymore, either.

Her friends had stuck by her side at first, doing their best to support her.
But after some time - months, actually - of non-reaction from Faith, they'd slowly drifted away.
She remained distanced from everything and they eventually left her alone.

Faith knew, deep down, that Daddy would never want to see her like this.
He'd want her to go on with her life, not sink deeper and deeper into depression.
But how could she?
Daddy had been her world, he'd meant everything to her, without him here to cheer her on...
What was the point?

Everyone was frustrated with her, she knew that.
She was also frustrated with herself - her lifeless, emotionless days were meaningless - she was letting Daddy down.

29 December 2009


Came the soft calling, riding on the night's slight breeze.

"Faith, come on home now. Faith?"
As her name was called over and over again, the caller coming closer and closer to where she sat under the tree, Faith strained to shut out the voice.
She willed with all her might for her mother to not find her, to walk away without seeing her here.

"There you are,"
Faith gritted her teeth in frustration.
Couldn't she get any alone time?

"Mum," she greeted wearily, cringing.
The greeting seemed too intimate, too bonding.

Reece stumbled over the ground towards her daughter.
As she sat down beside Faith, slumping backwards to meet the trunk of the tree, the strong smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke wafted over them both.

"Go home, Mum," Faith pleaded angrily, "Please,"
"I can't possibly leave my lil' girl out here all alone, could I?"
Reece's words slurred slightly.

Yes, you could, thought Faith. And you would, too.
But she kept silent.

"Where'd you get the money for the beer, Mum?" Faith said instead.
"Tequila," Reece corrected blearily.
"Whatever," Faith muttered.
Reece's head lolled on her shoulders, her body draped against the trunk.
Faith pressed again, louder, "Where, Reece?"


Giving up, Faith got up and walked away, suppressing her fury.
Finances weren't at its best, now that Daddy was gone.
And with Reece in no condition to work, Faith was in despair.

She often wondered when Reece had started chain smoking and drinking.
After Daddy's death, definitely.
And it'd turned her into someone even her own daughter did not recognize anymore.

Seething with anger and desperation, Faith began to walk faster - away from the hill, away from her mother - as Reece gave an unearthly moan in her drink-induced stupor.

10 December 2009


Faith's tears poured forth in torrents from the breaking of her heart's dam.

Unbidden at first, memories from the past floated into her mind.
As she relived sweet moments with Daddy, she began to ache for more images of him.

Accumulating her recollections like fallen leaves on an autumn day, she gathered them around and wrapped herself in them, lost in her thoughts to the world.


One of the most precious memories she had of him was seeing his gentle smile.
It was the first of millions he would come to give her, that first time she saw him at the Home.
"What's her name?" he asked the reedy woman who was in charge.
Faith'd never liked that woman.
Instead of letting her answer, Faith ran up to the smiling man - who had his hand around an equally pleasant-looking lady's waist - and said, "I'm Faith,".
He had given her - then six - a very serious look.
"Can we be your Daddy and Mummy, Faith?"

At ten, she'd broken her arm falling off the neighbour's roof.
"What were you doing up there?!" he demanded.
Sitting in the doctor's office at the hospital, watching as the nurse cast her arm in fibreglass, Faith kept quiet.
It was only on the way home that she had admitted to accidentally sending one of Daddy's tennis balls up onto the roof.
"I was trying to get it back. I'm sorry, Daddy,"
He stopped the car by the road and hugged her.
"Nothing's more important than you, Faith," he said, "Not even one of my prized tennis balls,"
And they laughed.

She also remembered the time when he'd encouraged her to join her school's track team.
"You run faster than the wind, Faith! You'll do fantastically," he grinned.
When she made it into the team, he'd been delighted.
And when she'd won the regional competition, he'd been ecstatic.
"See," he said, "it takes just a little faith to do wonders,".


As she worked her way through all her remembered past with Daddy, the ache slowly dimmed.
As all the thoughts of her moments with him flowed by, her tears eventually dried.

When there was nothing left to remember, Faith sat up and watched as the burning sun descended its throne to make way for the moon to lord the night.

09 December 2009


Faith ran.
She raced up the grassy hill.
Tears streaming, she forced her legs to move.

As she hurtled towards the old willow tree standing solitary at the top of the knoll, she willed herself to go faster, faster, faster.

She was almost flying across the meadow as she pushed herself to run.

At last, she dropped to the ground at the foot of the tree.

Chest heaving, she lay there; her head buried in the springy grass, shoulders shaking with sobs as she breathed in the familiar mossy scent of her memories.
She could hardly breathe from running and crying at the same time.

She couldn't hold it in any longer.
She had tried, had really made an effort to be strong.
But now, nothing could stop her from mourning her loss.

Why did he have to go?
Why did he have to leave them?
Why wasn't he here, when she needed him the most?
But there was no one who could answer her many questions.

She had promised him, promised that she'd look after the family.
She'd promised him that she'd be strong.
She'd held his callused hands in her own youthful ones and had promised him never to cry.
As he had closed his eyes, she'd promised him.
As his breathing had slowed to a stop, she'd promised him.
At his deathbed, Daddy's lil' Faith had promised him the world.

I'm sorry.