Hello, all! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. It’s time for another photo flash fic. This is the photo we’re working with today.
Tuning out the grumbling complaints coming from the backseat, she closed her eyes and breathed deeply. And held for several long seconds before slowly releasing.
She hated this day, this trip, this…this annual pilgrimage. So much. More than the kids behind her—even if they couldn’t imagine that—and for very, very different reasons.
She startled, eyes flying open as a warm, heavy hand settled on her thigh. Glancing over, she wondered what was going through his mind. He didn’t look at her, keeping focused on the road ahead, but his fingers pressed a bit more firmly, a silent message that he knew. He knew she was hurting. He knew she hated this. And he knew how important this was for all of them.
Eyes burning, she laid a hand over his, and he immediately turned his palm up to nestle against hers as their fingers intertwined.
They didn’t speak, though, and even the kids quieted, as they drew approached their destination. The silence was oppressive as the engine was shut off, and all of them just sat a moment.
The hushed words from the driver’s seat spurred everyone into motion. She was the last one out, needing another couple moments to compose herself. Later, she could cry. Would cry. In the dark, wrapped in his arms, she would let go, and he would take it, like he always did.
She got out of the car and followed her family. Despite the heaviness over her, her lips quirked up slightly as she took in the sight of the tall, handsome figure of her husband, with their three children
Her youngest daughter’s words floated on the air, and she quickened her stride so she could catch up.
“I’m here, baby.” She combed her fingers through the soft blonde curls as they continued.
Her breath caught as they rounded the corner. No matter how many times they came, no matter how many times she saw, she didn’t think she’d ever get over the horror that filled her every time.
The destruction before them… What had led to it… She trembled, and she couldn’t stop the tears that escaped.
“God,” her daughter—their oldest—huffed. “I don’t know why we have to be here. Every stupid year. Not like anything changes. Why couldn’t I have stayed home? This is so dumb.”
“We come to remember. Remember what happened, and what could happen again. And to remember those who were lost.” She spoke slowly, eyes still on the hollowed-out buildings mind on all the lives destroyed. Then, cutting her gaze to her daughter, who stared at her with eyes just like her father, she hardened her voice. “And to be grateful. Because of them, we’re free.”
“Before all this,” she waved a hand around, “you would have to hide who you are. You wouldn’t have been free to be you. Your choice would have been to hide or to be persecuted. Or killed. Remember that when you think this is stupid.”
She swallowed thickly and walked a few feet away, closing her eyes against the tears, chest aching horribly. She needed to get it together. Falling apart wasn’t an option. Later, she reminded herself again. Not now, not when she could sense others coming—to also pay their respects and remember.
A soft caress on her cheek and a sweet smell pulled her out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes to find a bright daisy hovering in the air in front of her. She turned her head to watch as her eldest daughter, hand outstretched, lower lip caught between her teeth, manipulate the flower until it was tucked behind her mother’s ear.