He leans down earnestly and puts his head close to the one resting on the pillow. The young girl is fast asleep; her lips puckered and her fine hair sticking to her face with sweat. Her nightgown is tangled around her gangly legs and her covers are half strewn across her body. He can see her perfectly despite the darkness. His hand cups her small fragile face and he smoothes her hair back. A small smile plays on his lips, but the dolls and coloring books look on sadly from the perimeters once again. He leans down with his lips close to her ear and small whispers escape his mouth and disperse into thin air. His words, such words, are gone before they are able to be heard. He kisses her forehead and looks down on her porcelain face. Outside the wind blows and the chimes on the outside porch erupt into a faint musical beat. A second clicks by on the clock on the oven. The moon moves a fraction of an inch towards its exit and he is gone. The little girl awakes in the morning, her covers perfectly tucked around her and the whispers in her ears. “Daddy loves you,” he whispered and the words echo in her mind. She looks at the clock and thinks about what day it is, then counts out on her fingers how many days until he gets to come home again. As she wakes and begins to dress for the day, the words that once seemed gone echo throughout her. She hears it as she dresses, as she eats her breakfast, as she waves goodbye to her mom. Daddy loves you.