Alex stood up from the table, the bills and figures left in piles, taunting. Stretching his hands above his head, he willed the hunch from his body. He walked to the window, where the sun peered in through the shadow-casting trees.
It was no use. No amount of stretching or sunshine could shake the burden from his mind. The anxiety gnawed at him, chewing away at his thoughts, spitting out worry upon worry.
There was movement in the shadows then, and from the depths of sunlight a small form bounded toward him, oblivious to his watching eyes. It was his daughter, Olivia, skipping nimbly among the bending branches.
She stopped. Turning back toward the sunshine, she opened her arms wide, as if she could embrace the trees, the sky, the sun. Then, leaning forward, hands outstretched, she began to sing. Spontaneous, disjointed, nonsensical: the words and melody caught between them a joy unbounded, deep and raw.
Alex pressed his hands to the window, bent his head to the glass, and wept.
– MWP 2012