Near the front offices, teachers drifted in and out, chatting or griping, and a group of softball players ducked into the teacher resource room to purchase snacks before practice. Trace left his office door open and settled in his chair to return a parent phone call. Updating his evaluation calendar took far few minutes than inputting observation notes would. When he closed the calendar app, Kaydee smiled at him from his desktop, blue eyes sparkling, a big cheer bow atop her gleaming blonde ponytail. He leaned back in his chair, soaking in every detail of his precious girl’s face.
He nudged his mouse, hovered over the folder icon, and pulled up a video he’d already watched countless times.
On the screen, Kaydee rocked in his own desk chair and twirled the end of her ponytail about her fingers. She scanned the office, a mischievous smile lighting her face. “One day, I’m going to have an office just like this – maybe this one, Daddy, wouldn’t that be cool? Can’t you see me, up and down the hall with the radio, leading and . . .”
He let her animated description of her future escapades as an administrator wash over him. The photos and videos held her frozen in time, barely seventeen, bright and bubbling over with potential and anticipation.
All of that had been over so quickly, lost in moments, in a handful of adolescent decisions.
He spread his hands over his thighs. Losing Sara left his ring finger bare, left him missing his role as her husband.
Losing Kaydee left a gouged-out void where his heart used to be. He’d learned how not to be a husband anymore.
He didn’t think he’d ever learn how to be a father who no longer had a beloved child.