“Cream or sugar?” “No, thank you.” He had already known the answer, it hadn’t changed in twenty years, but he would always ask just in case.
He set the cup on the table beside her plate before planting a light kiss on her head. Her eyes remained on the table in a blank stare. With a deep breath, he took his place, reaching a hand across the table for their morning prayer. Out of habit, he extended the other to the now empty chair. She had done the same. There eyes met in silent understanding, both leaving their hand in the space as they said grace.
They ate breakfast in silence, neither sure of what to say. Ella has always been the talkative one anyway. It was only appropriate for them to listen, even if she wasn’t there to talk.
Every once and a while he would let his gaze return to the chair, it was easier than looking at his wife. Easier than seeing the pain that lied in her eyes and easier than seeing the reflection of his daughter’s face. They had looked so alike.
It was times like this that hurt the most, knowing how much pain they were both in and feeling powerless against it. Without a word, he picked up his plate, collecting hers as well, and carried them to the counter.
“I love you.” He said softly with a kiss on her cheek.
She tried to smile, but her face fell almost immediately. “I love you too.” It was barely a whisper.
Slowly, he made his way to the outside, glancing over his shoulder before leaving. It wasn’t until the door closed that he allowed the tears to fall.