• A delicate droplet fell first onto my cheek then, as though time stopped, paused for a moment until time unravelled itself and continued to let that one droplet slide gently down my face. It was indeed picturesque; the whole thing about rain was perfect. And I willed it to be perfect. Was it wrong to want everything to be perfect? Or maybe that was just part of my character, a perfectionist as some may say. I have spent months, or years even pondering and reminiscing, trying to find answers (as I am now) as to who am I. I continued to amble my way across the park. I came across a large, vibrant rose; it was crimson red. My mother used to grow such beauties in our garden. I remember my dear mother; strong-willed and proud. She was one of those women who stood up for what she believed; that women should be able to work, vote and all that. From the beginning I remember her warmth; it surrounded me and held me tight. She would whisper in my ear telling me adventurous tales in faraway lands. Oh how I loved such stories. I would run around our grand house, looking for objects that I could hide. I would then wait for somebody to find out it was missing and then I conducted a thorough search of the house as if I were a pirate trying to find treasure. What a nuisance I was! Yet my maids, tutors and parents would continue pretending as though they were oblivious as to who was the culprit.

    I looked away from red rose and strolled onward. I was surprised to see a young mother rocking her child despite the gentle rain. Maybe she too wants her child to embrace life. My mother would lovingly hold me in her arms. She would walk through our own gardens whether rain or shine, recounting her own upbringing. She would tell me of the times she embraced everything and of the times she truly felt alone in this world. I sometimes could see the tears blurring her eyes as she taught me lessons that she herself had learnt the hard way. But being strong as she always was, I never saw one of those tears escape from her beautiful sapphire eyes. Due to this, I vowed to myself that I would be just like her: a strong and proud woman.

    A flutter of wings brought my attention to an elegant white swan. Startled by my sudden movement, the swan launched itself from the glistening waters and into the skies. I gazed up toward the swan in the vast skies until I could see it no more. I always wished I could fly. The feeling of being free: how I loved that sensation. I would close my eyes and race the wind. I ran through the garden as the cool breeze caressed my face and tossed my hair and when I was weary, lie down on the grass and watch the birds. I watched those graceful creatures soar in the skies, taking all the time they need. My father joined me at times. We raced each other until we no longer had the energy to move. Then, we lay on the grass hand in hand, talking until the night sky appeared above us.

    The rain is lessening now. I watched as each droplet caught the light. Life was beautiful. Here in this park I could see nothing but perfection: the perfect water droplets, the vibrant roses, the elegant birds and the loving bond between mother and child. Yet, somewhere deep in my heart I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. We lived in a world today that completely changed a few years ago. It wasn’t our environment that changed; it was something within everyone’s heart that changed. I remember the day that my father departed. It was sprinkling just like today. I still can feel his warm, large hand stroke my face as he pulled me toward him for one last kiss on the forehead. Our eyes met as I turned my face toward him: his hazel eyes filled with deep sadness and regret. My throat tightened as my face grew hot. And with that, his warmth faded away as he picked up his bag. Warm tears sprung from my eyes as I watched my father carry his small brown bag over his shoulder and walk toward the plane. With one last wave he entered the plane. Mother and I watched as his plane departed, soaring into the air until he was but a dot in the sky. He was gone and as I know now, will remain gone. The world mercilessly swallowed him up, stealing his presence away from me. It is now only mother and me. Many say I am just like my mother: strong and proud, just as I vowed to be. But I am something else now; I am my father’s daughter and will continue to be that until the day I die.