“I demand a refund!” she exclaimed as her tiny fists pounded on my oak desk, making me jolt awake from my restless nap. The pens and pencils rattled against their home, quivering as though they were as startled as I was. I stared at my daughter, her eyebrows furrowed and her lips curved downwards, clearly unpleased.
“What do you mean, sweetheart?”
I was wondering where she learned that phrase. Did she catch it while watching Mira’s sitcoms with her as she fussed around the house, multitasking any errand she could handle with two hands, catching scenes through the intervals of her chores? Surely, a child of 5 could not possibly comprehend the term.
“I want a refund,” her arms crossed in front of her chest, holding her ground. “Ibu told me refund is when you get back something when you’re not satisfied,” her eyes welled up as she said this. I offered her a hug but she made it clear she only wanted the refund she spoke of.
“There’s nothing I could do about it, love,” I smiled but my heart betrayed me. As I said that, I felt pang of pain on my chest, tears threatened to fall as I tried my best to remain a cool façade in order to calm my beloved daughter down.
She turned around and headed towards the door to exit my study. The way her shoulders were bouncing was a clear indicator she was crying. I called out to her, apologizing and stretched my arms out, inviting her for a hug. Reluctant at first, she later accepted the offer. Staining my shirt with tears from losing a loved one.
“Nek is angry with you. She said Ibu is gone because of you. Is it true Papa? I was hoping you could bring her back.”
I was rendered speechless, letting my tears speak on my behalf. There was no use trying to conceal my pain. The memory of it was too vivid, as though it had only happened only 5 minutes ago.
An argument erupted, our angry voices booming, filling the air with tension. It was about something irrelevant now that I think about it. Yet, we underestimate the capability of something small to impact one’s life. All I saw after was bright lights, my childhood lover flung out of the windshield, blood splattered against the cushions and headboard. Everything was happening so fast, my mind blacked out soon after. The next thing I know, I was next to my wife’s deathbed, apologising until I became breathless, realising the consequences of my actions.
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” were the only words I could respond with, knowing very well she would never grow to forgive me. Well, I wouldn’t forgive myself either.

Lost in a daze.
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