“I don’t know what to.” Mason wiped his eyes with the back of his hands. Elin snapped out three tissues from the box and pressed them into his trembling fingers. Mason mumbled his thanks and blew his nose. His swollen eyes went to the window where his three little girls were at play; unaware of the tragic news he’d just received. His fingers began to shred the soggy tissue. “What do I tell them?”
Elin turned his face towards hers, and pressed a soft kiss to his lips.
“You tell them the truth.” Her eyes met his. “They deserve to know.”
Mason pulled his face away, his distress clearly evident. He didn’t care. Everything he believed in, everything he knew, was now just a bitter illusion. He wished he didn’t possess such horrible knowledge.
“You shouldn’t have told me.” He turned back to her, his eyes cold. “I was better off not knowing.”
“Really?” Elin sat back. She threw her hands up in agitation. “You can’t be serious! Think about your children for once.”
Mason jumped up from the couch, swallowing back the tears. He went to the window, one hand braced on the wall. His daughters, three of the most beautiful creatures on earth, chased each other across the lawn. It was Sunday and they’d just returned from church. They were dressed in yellow daffodil dresses with white ruffles, their hair adorned with daisy rings, no doubt plucked from his garden. One of them, probably Kelsey, had taken off her shoes and socks.
He sighed. He knew Elin was right but it didn’t make him feel any better. He tossed another glare at her before going to the door. He called his little angels inside and they came, their faces bright and shining with happiness. They were only six years old, much too young to be told such things. Mason wondered how to tell them.
After Sharon, Jessica and Kelsey seated themselves on the couch, they stared up at him, their eyes wide and innocent. Mason cleared his throat, keeping his eyes off of Elin.
“Sweethearts, remember how I told you about Easter and the-“
“The Easter Rabbit?” Sharon piped up. She was the leader of the trio. They all started to swing their legs in excitement.
Mason blew out a breath.
“Yes, darling. Well.” He then looked to Elin who nodded for him to continue. He blinked as more hot tears began to form. “Well, he…he doesn’t exist.” He sniffled, let out a sob and put his hands up to his face again.
He was more than ready to comfort them when all three of his babies burst into peals of laughter. He stared at them in shock, his own despair forgotten.
Sharon jumped off the couch, throwing her arms around his waist.
“Oh Daddy! We knew that!” She skipped around him and went out the door. Kelsey came up next, squeezed him and followed Sharon out. Jessica tugged his hand. Mason bent down and she planted a loud, smacking kiss on his cheek before running outside.
After they’d left, he turned to face Elin who stood with her arms crossed over her chest. Mason ignored her gloating look. He wiped his eyes.
“That went better than I expected.”
“Of course, it did.”
He reached for the more tissues and blew his nose. He cleared his throat again.
“How many more do I have left?”
Elin came up to him and rubbed his back in wide, slow circles.
“Just the Tooth Fairy and then you’ll be done.” Aware of his grief, she squeezed him in a half-hug. “You can wait awhile for that, though. ”
Mason closed his eyes, shaking his head.
© copyright 2011 by Ren Thompson April 13, 2011
3 Word Wednesday: Evident, Illusion and Tragic