“Doogie” Kayla points at a Golden Retriever playing frisbee with it’s owner in the distance. She is at the stage in life where everything is fascinating and she wants to touch it all. As the dog leaps into the air to catch his prize Kayla sways on her unsure toddler legs and attempts to trot off in it’s direction.
“My turn?” Dorian asks his wife.
“Go for it,” she says. Her smile is warm and full of pride in her little girls accomplishments, even though they are small. Amelia has big plans for the miniature version of herself.
Kayla doesn’t get two steps beyond their picnic blanket before her daddy scoops up his chubby daughter and swings her around in a circle. Delighted giggles fill the air as he carries Kayla upside down back to her mothers waiting arms.
Kayla very much likes going upside down. Her pale blonde hair continues to stand straight up even after Dorian puts her down. She is smiling and flashing a mouth full of gums except for the two front teeth on the bottom that were the only to come in so far.
We he looks at her, Dorian imagines future summer days in Forsyth Park pushing her in the swings. He pictures himself and Amelia cheering in the stands as Kayla plays in her first softball game. He plans to arrive early to get a good view of the stage for her first school play. There are so many things he’s looking forward to in the years to come and reaches out to Amelia and squeezes her hand in silent thanks. She has given him this beautiful give.
Amelia’s contented smile transforms as a coughing fit overtakes her. She has been doing that a lot lately.
“Are you okay?” He asks with real concern. It’s not allergies or a cold and Dorian feels the tiniest ball of dread begin to form in his stomach.
Amelia attempts to say something and waves off his concern. She is unable to form the words because she can’t stop the body racking cough long enough to utter them. The sound is deep and wet with congestion from the bottom of her lungs. She released his hand to retrieve a paper towel and place it over her face to prevent the spreading of germs. When she brings the towel away from her face there are a few coffee colored drops left behind. She notices him noticing and quickly crumples up the evidence.
“I’m fine!” she says.