Papa’s Promise – Ekphrastic Fiction

27/09/2022

Sumber Gambar: Pinterest

Oleh: Alena Zakira Riva Armadina – Kelas 83

“Papa!!” I yelled, looking through the telescope. He didn’t turn to me, he just chuckled. He kept on reading his newspaper, as usual.

I remember I was looking at a shooting star across the sky. It was Star Awakening Day, a special day for the both of us.

Papa loved space; he worked as a space researcher. We had this huge room full of books and space things, with a huge telescope in the middle of the room. The room had a roof made of glass and we lived up in the hill, far from the village and town down below.

“Papa, I saw a shooting star again. The biggest one today.” I explained, disappointed that he ignored me before.

“I know Estelle, I saw.” He finally turned to me, smiling. Papa taught me a lot about space, and I loved every single thing about it.

The Star Awakening Day was a day we both made up. It was the day Mama died.  Coincidentally, every day of the star’s awakening day, each year, the sky always looks beautiful. We always thought its Mama giving us a greeting. I was 11, Mama died when I was 8. It was the third year we did this, and how I wished it still continued.

“Estelle,” he suddenly came up to me.

“What’s wrong? Oh, Papa look, isn’t that star so pretty? It reminds me of Mama.” I answered, still looking through the telescope.

“It does indeed. Estelle, I want to talk to you about something. Come sit in front of the desk with me.”

I turned to him, it was probably a new material he wanted to tell me about space again, I thought.

“What is it today? Did you find something new to tell me about?” I asked. Sitting in front of his desk, beside the fireplace.

“Estelle, we both know that we’ll someday travel the world, and discover the truth of the stars.”

“That’s what we always talk about. Why? Have you found a new clue?” I asked again, excited.

He smiled, “I think so, But what if I tell you that the clue I’ve found isn’t good news to you, would you still want to hear it?” He asked me. I didn’t understand, everything he taught me had always been a good thing. What’s so bad that he thought I wouldn’t want to hear it?

“Yes? What’s wrong?”

“It turns out, the trip we planned to go together, you probably can’t join. It’s too… I don’t know. Even Papa, I, myself, can’t explain it.”

My heart dropped hearing that, we’ve been planning on going on the trip since Mama was still here. Mama loved space as well, she would’ve wanted me to come.

“But, what about Mama? You know we wanted to do the trip since forever, you can’t just cancel it.” I said, clearly filled with disappointment.

“You know what, you’re right. Maybe I shouldn’t think about it that much,” he said. But I could tell there was a bit of a doubt in his voice.

I smiled, at least he said I shouldn’t think about it. He then told me that I could go back to the telescope, so I did. It was then around 12 at night, he told me I should go to sleep.

He accompanied me till the door, he then said.

“Estelle, Mama is proud of you, and so am I. You may feel like you’re alone but you’re not,” he said. Every year that day, he always said something about mama or things before I went to sleep.

“I know Papa.” I smiled and opened the door, wanting to go outside to bed. But then he held the door and kept me from going outside.

“Estelle, say I’m gone one day. No traces, no clues, no anything. Will you try to find me?” Papa asked, out of nowhere.

I hesitated. Why is he asking me this?

“Well, of course I’ll try to find you. But you won’t be gone. You will try to get back.”

“I know, but you’ll promise you’ll try to find me?” He asked again.

“Yes, only if you promise you’ll try to get back.” I said with a proud smile. Papa laughed.

“I promise.” He said surely.

“Alright now, goodnight, Papa.”

“Goodnight Estelle.”

I went to the spiral staircase down to our house. The spare room was up in the attic. I supposed you could say we were rich. We lived in this big house, but I was still home schooled. We had maids and butlers throughout the house, so I wasn’t scared. I thought about what he said before, he doesn’t usually say things like that, especially on the star’s awakening day. But I thought it was probably just a random quiz he had throughout the day, so I didn’t think much about it.

Fast forward to now, I’m 19 years old and has graduated. I’m no longer home schooled, and Papa is gone. I don’t know where he went. Just like he said, he’s gone with no trace, no clue, no anything. He put me through boarding school right one day before he was gone.

I was 12, and it was a day after the star awakening day. I woke up for breakfast, but he was suddenly gone. I waited around a week for him to comeback, but he didn’t. The maids and people at my house were all worried and involved the police.

But till this day, there’s still no clue where he is. They all said he’s dead. But I don’t believe them, they don’t know what Papa is really like. How mysterious, smart, how much of an unexpected person he is. And they didn’t hear what he said that night to me.

He promised he’ll be back. I waited so very long, he’s never back. But I also promised I’ll try to find him.

So, for the last 7 years, I have been studying in his study desk looking for clues. Turned out, Papa had been hiding a lot from me. There were so many things I didn’t know. But weirdly, the things he hid didn’t looked like it was supposed to be hidden. It looks as if he clearly set this up for me to find and learn something.

I’m now 19. And I think I’ve found a clue to where Papa is, and Mama as well. After so many years of finding it, I think I’ve got it. I wrote and put this paper on Papa’s desk so one of you will find it. I promised, I’ll be back. But this time, with Papa and Mama with me.

-Estelle Saunders.

 

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