The young girl smiled and looked up at her happy, complete father. The father smiled and gazed down into the eyes that completed him. He sat on a piece of wood tied to two ropes, connected to the weeping tree, his daughter in his lap. The wind swayed the two back and forth, the man's bare feet gently hitting the ground each time the swing returned from the sky. The man whispered through her flying hair, the girl giggled. They spoke of the things that light, spring, green, clear brought, they spoke of their lives with one another. Each moment was innocent, and each moment was fairytale. Then the inevitable story-words began.
"Daddy, I don't want to leave."
"I know, darling, but what can I do?"
"You could tell everyone that I will not be making the journey home. Daddy, tell them I am to be living here for now and ever."
"And how would your mother like that?"
"My mother loves me and would miss me. My mother would come here with her suitcases and say, 'I am going to live with you and Daddy!' And it won't matter that you don't like mother and that she hates you, because you'll both love me enough not to mind each other."
"There is no hate in this family, love. I am so very sincerely sorry, but your plan, as lovely as it sounds, will simply not work."
"What's wrong with it, Daddy?"
"It's simply flawed, love."
"Oh. But I want to be your daughter forever."
"Why ever would you not be my daughter forever?"
"You'll forget me."
Her words were more powerful than even the surrounding paradise, and the man's smile was robbed and taken by them. He lifted her carefully and placed her alone on their shared seat. His right hand held the swing still and his left lay in hers, and he kneeled onto the warm, living ground.
"I will never forget you, because if I did, I'd be forgetting a thing with no comparison. I'd be forgetting the most important thing in the world."
The girl didn't understand his words, but his voice purred and his eyes watered, and she thought he looked stunningly serious and kind. She thought he looked like he was all hers, and so she smiled. And the man relaxed.
"But what if I were to forget you?"
He was a man who enjoyed dealing with the truth, and so he tightened his fingers around hers and his other hand reached into his pocket. He had hoped for a chance to do this. He withdrew a flower engraved on a silver coin, and handed it to his daughter.
"You see, it's a water lily, like the ones in the pond. Will you keep it with you forever?"
"Why would I keep it with me forever?"
"So you'll remember me always. And so if you ever forget, you can be reminded."
"It's awful lovely."
"I think I love it."
And with that the girl placed the coin her pocket, where she'd seen her father keep it. Then she hugged her father, because that's what people do when they are given a gift they like. Then it was off into the little stone house, and off to pack, and off to her mother. She dressed in yellow, and placed sharp black shoes on her feet. With her father, she never wore shoes, and she found that she'd almost forgotten how to properly lace them. But, when all was in order, she looked precisely as the young girl who'd just arrived to visit her father had, and she left in that way.
And her father went back to his homemade swing, although now it was dark and quite a bit colder. He thought of life and time and his daughter. He looked out at the dark water lilies in his paradise. And he sat under the weeping tree.