Sunshine By Ashley Pannell

Warning: mentions of death and sadness 

Disclaimer: I do not own the lullaby quoted in this piece

 

A father watched on a park bench as his daughter ran around the playground, chasing a butterfly. Her chubby legs waddled as she ran after the insect, flailing her arms as she did so. The father smiled as he watched her, chuckling as she gave up and ran back to him.

 

He stood up to meet her, just as she launched herself into his arms. He caught her and whirled her around, whilst listening to her bubbling laughter. He smiled at her as he stopped and opened his mouth to speak before a loud yawn interrupted him.

 

His daughter tiredly rubbed her eyes, fighting the urge to fall asleep then and there. “Is someone sleepy?” He chuckled, already knowing the answer.

 

The girl frantically shook her head. “No!” But as soon as she said that, another yawn came from her mouth and she looked at him, smiling sheepishly. “Well, maybe a little.”

 

He laughed lightly, before making the journey home. Soon enough, he was tucking his daughter in bed for her nap. Just as he was about to leave, a small hand grabbed his. He turned around, expectantly. “Can you sing me the song?

 

He smiled, before nodding, setting himself down next to her bed.

The song she was referring to was her favourite lullaby; he always sang it to her when she couldn’t fall asleep or when she was sad or simply when she wanted to hear it.  

 

He cleared his throat, before softly singing her song.

 

“You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine,

You make me happy,

When skies are grey.

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you,

Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

 

She snored loudly and he laughed quietly to himself. Softly padding out of the room, he closed the door and sighed, wondering what he did to deserve her.

 

 

14 years later

 

He softly gripped onto her hand as she lay in the hospital bed. The monitor beeped beside him, showing her heart beat.

 

The car had come out of nowhere.

 

They had been going out together, celebrating her passing her driver license test. She had begged him to let her drive and he had agreed, melting under her puppy dog eyes.

 

They were driving down the street when a car swerved into their path. It crashed into them and that’s all he remembered before blacking out.

 

He woke in the hospital, with a mild concussion and a fractured wrist. He had been lucky.

 

His daughter had not.

 

She was in a full comatose state, with many bruises and cuts, along with a broken leg. It was unlikely she would wake.

 

But he had kept hope. He had kept believing that she would wake, that she would pop up one and day and yell “Gotcha!” giggling at the fact that she had been able to fool him.

 

But she didn’t. She stayed the same and soon his hope started to fade.

 

“Please wake up.” He whispered. The doctors and nurse had said that he should talk to her, because she may be aware of what was going on around her. “Please. I already lost your mother. Please don’t make me lose you too.” When his wife had died in her child birth, it became the happiest and saddest day of his life.

 

He was happy because he met his daughter. But it was sad because he lost his wife.

He took in a deep breath before softly singing to her, tears streaming down his face and his voice cracking as he did so.

 

“You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine,

You make me happy,

When skies are grey.

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you,”

 

The machine beeped a long flat line as he sang the last words his daughter would ever hear.

 

“So please don’t take my sunshine away.”