My hurting legs wouldn't bear it anymore. My knees were weak, my shoulders sagged and I sank to the ground, my pale green eyes lifeless. I kneeled on a puddle of mud,my brand new pale gray jeans soaking up the brown liquid. The wind howled, and I felt my spine tingle as the wind blew past my frail kneeling body. I curled my body up, seeking warmth from what's left of my cold flesh. I curled there, immobile, and I took the time to observe my appearance. My black peacoat was damp and splattered with mud. My brown leather boots were scraped and also covered in mud. My hands were scraped and blood was escaping from my pale skin. I quickly covered the scar with my scarf, and I pushed back strands of my ice blond hair away from my face. My brain ordered my hands to retie my hair into a ponytail, but my bony fingers wouldn't do as it was told. I was still in shock, and now all my energy had been drained away from my body. In thirteen years of my existence, I had never been this tired.
It was the first time I noticed my surroundings. The maple trees that surrounds the scenery were starting to change the colors of their leaves, making the trees looked candy-coated. An empty bench sat next to an old maple tree, its armrests rusty but still strong. There was an empty playground that was surrounded by more trees. A sign next to a lamp post said "Hunchberry Park".
I knew this park well. I used to go there with my father when I was young. I grimaced at the thought, but found that I couldn't resist thinking about it. I remembered my father, his strong features and kind ocean blue eyes, his strong hands pushing my back gently, rocking the swing I was sitting at. I was 3 at that time, and it was in the middle of spring. It was a lovely day, the sun was high up in the sky, white fluffy clouds drifting in the caribbean blue sky. I giggled as the swing flew high up in the warm air, and I could also hear my father laughing with me. It seemed like minutes, although we had been playing in the park for hours, and the blue sky started to change its hue. My dad told me that it's time to go home, but I objected so we played again for an hour. We both laid down on the picnic mat my dad had laid out and watched the the clouds drifting in the pink sky.
"Addie, what does that look like to you?" asked my dad, pointing to a cloud. "Addie" was a nickname he made for me. My real name was Astrid, and I still wonder how he got the name "Addie".
"Bird," I answered in my laconic toddler language. He brushed back my smooth baby hair away from my chubby face and smiled at me, his eyes twinkling.
"Yes, that's right," he said, tweaking my chin. He locked his eyes with mine, and I remembered with perfect clarity the traces of sadness in his eyes. I didn't understand why he looked sad, so I asked him.
"Daddy, why are you sad?" I asked. He smiled, smoothing his short dark brown hair.
"Why would I be sad? I have you don't I?" he said, as he rised up from the ground, towering over me. He lifted me up with his arm, and lifted the basket and mat with the other. My father was a tall and sturdy man, but a very kind man inside.
"Yes. I have you too, and I'm happy," I replied cheerily, encircling my chubby arms around his neck. I fell asleep during the long drive back home. I didn't understand back then, but now as I grew older I learned that the reason behind his sadness that day was because of my mother. I never knew my mother, and my father barely told me anything about her. I assumed that she must have died when I was born, a typical cause of death. But I always wonder who my mother was. All I knew was that her name was Melissa Hood and she was 2 years younger than dad.
My father and I lived alone in 23rd Street. My father never hired a nanny for me. Instead, we have Jane Aramis, our neighbour, who would gladly take care of me without payment. Jane was a young and lovely woman with locks of coffee colored hair and gray eyes, and she was married to a young lawyer named Kevin. They did not have children even though they desperately wanted one.
I never knew anything about my father's occupation, and whenever I brought the topic up he would divert the conversation. It was curious, but I never seemed to mind. Until today, early in the morning when the fire ruined everything, including my father. Now I wished to know everything that my father hides.