Panagiota Mosphilis, Grade 9, Thomas Hassall Anglican College
I loved hearing her giggle, as she scaled the aged chestnut oak in our front yard. I adored hearing her excitedly yell “daddy wake up!” as she would race into our bedroom every morning. I cherished hearing her say "I love you" as we would sit on the beach together, listening to the waves gently crash against the shore, whilst licking our single-scooped mint ice-creams. I miss hearing my precious wife laugh at my disgraceful jokes, which I would repeat a thousand times. I miss hearing her heartbeat in harmony with mine, as I laid by her side each night. I miss hearing her say "I love you" as we would fondly watch our daughter wave goodbye to us at the school gate every morning. These comforting sounds and words that I took for granted, are now just a fading remembrance, which has left me to drown in a constant silence. At night, I try to imagine their voices inside my head, but after a year of silence, it is almost impossible and I sometimes wonder whether the world around me has gone quiet, or I have just become deaf to the world…
It was forecast to storm the evening of Abigail’s year three parent-teacher interviews. Elizabeth said she would take Abi since I was exhausted from work, but they never made it to the school that night. I was sitting on our tattered, brown couch immersed in a television show when I got the life-changing phone call from the town’s police department. They told me that there was an accident and that the tree was struck by lightning and that’s why it fell and hit the front of the car. My beautiful, irreplaceable wife had been killed and although Abigail survived physically, she became silent from that night onwards. She would not talk to a single person, not even to me and she became a shadow of her former bubbly self. The psychologist said it was because of the shock of watching her mother die and ever since the accident, I have been living in a dead-silent home, suffocated by melancholia.
It is another stormy night when I get woken by a tap on my shoulder. It’s Abi. Her eyes are bright red and her cheeks are flushed, so I know she has been crying again because the storm is bringing back all the unforgettable images of watching her mother being killed. I cradle her in my arms and I soothingly whisper into her ear, “It’s alright, everything is alright. Mummy is in a better place now and remember that she will always be here inside your heart. I love you so much.” I then gently kiss her tiny, warm forehead and wipe away the tears that are trickling down her cheeks. As we sit together in silence, I am overwhelmed with emotions when I hear her faintly respond, “I love you too, daddy.” I have finally been rescued from the ocean of silence I was drowning in.