Fading Smiles

Hi. I'm Hannah. I'm fourteen years old. My mom went missing when I was three years old and I'm now living with my dad who drinks constantly. He is grieving over the loss of his wife, my mother. What can I do? I have to find her. How? I don't know.

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2. Anniversary

   I hear a heavy knock on the door. Before I answer it, I glance at the clock. 8:45 pm. Here we go again. I sigh and open the door to my father. "Here's my gorgeous daughter!", my dad slurs and rubs his bloodshot eyes. He staggers into the house and hits an imaginary fly. "Glummphm," he murmurs. "Come on," I gently shove him up the rickety stairs. "Arrrrghhlyymmpphmm," he grunts loudly. "Go to bed, dad," I open his door and he limps in the room. I close it then press my ear against the door. There's a loud creak of the bed. While rubbing my eyes, I stagger to my room next door. I kick off my moccasins and bury myself into the pile of blankets.

  "Pass the milk," my dad grunts. I grab the carton and place it in front of him. He rubs his face with his big palms and moans. "So how was school today?", my dad says awkwardly. "It's eight in the morning...on Saturday," I clear my throat. "Oh."   I nod and poke at my Cherrios with my plastic spoon. There's a long silence. My dad's bloodshot eyes look around the room. I look up from my mushy breakfast and notice that his eyes well up in tears. He buries his face in his hands. I sit uncomfortably as I hear muffled, gaspy breaths coming from him. "It's December 22nd today," he manages. December 22nd? He rubs his scruffy beard and whispers, "The day she went missing." He pushed from the table and staggered to the fridge. He pulled out a pen from his shirt pocket and scribbled two lines on the twenty-seventh box of the month of December. Eleven. Eleven years without hugs. Without  kisses. Without smiles. Eleven years without a mother. He opens the fridge and pulls out a big, nearly-empty bottle of beer. He bites the lid and tears it off. He spits out the metal lid, which lands on my plate. "Easy on that," I mutter as I exit the kitchen.

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