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Daddy's Little Girl
“Dad, don’t leave!” I shrieked as I sobbed
As I looked over, my dad carried his suitcases to the door, using his giant hands to push my mom, who was right behind him. My mother was shrieking in tears, wetting her ragged, and holding my dad from stepping out the door. I cried until I could not breathe, and as a 10-year-old at the time, I was terrified. I remember clinging to his lower leg, but he kicked me off, causing me to ski across the room.
“Dad, why do you have to go?” I screamed as I choked my own tears.
My dad looked at me with his big, owl-like eyes, but turned away and stayed silent. He shut the door hard and took his car and drove past our house. My mom was at the door sobbing, until she could not, and her holed, ragged clothes were damp. I scurried up to comfort her.
“Don’t worry Mommy, you still have me, right?” I choked as I gave her a weak smile.
“No, Anna!” my mom screamed, as she shot her crazy red eyes at me, “This is all your fault that your dad left us! I wish you were never born!”
I stared in shock, but cried in fear, “But I love-”
SMACK! I held my cheek, as the red handprint across my face stung. Tears streamed down my face harder than before, as I choked on my tears as I moaned in pain.
“No!” she shouted wildly, “But I don’t!”
She ran to her room, continuing to sob her eyes out. I stood there and looked down at the floor, and saw the puddle formed from the tears I shed.
Five years later this day, nightmares still haunt me, even as a freshman, soon to be sophomore, in summer. I slowly walked out of my room and lingered at a stain on my shirt, for who knows how long I’ve been wearing. I went to the kitchen, and with my bony, pale hands, reached out to the refrigerator handle, hoping there was something to eat. There was nothing. But then, I smelled the sour yet sweet scent of the lemon tart. I had not smelled that in a long time. Dad loved it and requested it every day. Then, I heard a gobble like sound. I looked over, seeing my mom devouring the food to herself. Her hair was like tangled up vines, and she had large bags under her dull, gray eyes.
“Mom?” I squeaked, but smiled with all my might, “Can I have a bit to eat today?”
“Don’t call me that! I told you to only call me by my first name. And no, you do not deserve to eat any of these. I not giving favorite food of your dads to you!” she spatted bitterly.
I heard this almost every day from her, yet it still hurts the same from the first time.
“I love you.” I spoke. And I did.
She scoffed, rolled her eyes, and walked away from the table that once sat a happy family.
She seemed angrier than usual. I wiped away the tears that were balanced by my long eyelashes.
I ran back to my room. I looked and ran my hand across the cracked and faint color of the walls, that were once a bright yellow, but now dull yellow, almost grey. But the room was somehow the only welcoming room in this house. It smelled like my dad, pumpkin spice with mix of the floral soap he use to wear. I plopped down on my spiny chair and spun until everything blurred and my headache grew worse. When the chair slowed down, I came face to face with the pink mirror my dad gave me before I left. I had not looked at myself for years. My eyes were swollen red, like there was no white left in my eye, and my hazel eyes, now dull and black. My face was wrinkled and dried with tears. My eyes went down to my body. I had become skin and bones, seeing my ribs sticking out. No wonder everybody thought that I was a freak. I looked like a monster. I wept to tears, but this was not sad tears, but angry. All this was because of mom. Her blaming me constantly for the leaving of my dad. It was not fair. I threw the mirror and screamed into my potato sack of a pillow. The mirror shattered in pieces. I bent my knees and held the mirror close to my heart and sobbed. I destroyed the last of my dad. Once there were no more tears to shed, I noticed a little, folded piece of paper in the broken half of the mirror. My shaky hands took the letter and read it slowly.
You are worth more than any diamond. Burned brighter than any star. Know the I am not gone but found. I am sorry I went, but still a part of me stays here in my little den in this house.
I held the letter, my hands shaking, and the tears dampened the letter and smudging the ink. A sudden urge crept through my spine and blinded my thoughts. I was going to find out what happened to my father. And this was my chance. I thought of where my dad spent most of his time. My dad was a warm person who loved to, who was always there with us. How could there be any other place where he might have gone? I stared at the pink mirror hoping that it would somehow speak and tell me where the answer may be. I read the note over and over. Right as I was about to give up, I saw a tiny print that was uncovered when the ray of light struck the back of the note. The words were on a separate, seemed to be cut off piece of paper from a book that said “ticta”. I realized it was the scrambled puzzles that my dad and I used to do in the newspaper.
“Attic.” I said not even realize that I was speaking aloud.
Of course! Before my dad got fired, he was a woodworker. When my daddy got fired, he stopped going there to build his “little inventions” as he used to call them. But daddy never allowed anyone to go there. When he left, mother boarded the doorway, so no one would ever be able to pass the door. I had to get there. Suddenly an idea struck me. My mother took sleeping pills as she slept downstairs in the afternoon. She would sleep for hours, as if she hadn’t slept in years. Once in all, I will find where my dad went.
That afternoon, the plan slowly began. I looked from the side of the kitchen wall, as if I were a spy, and my mom went downstairs, one hand a pillow and the other a little tin of sleeping pills. I heard her loud gulp as she swallowed down the pills, and not even a moment later, I heard her snoring. Perfect. I ran to my dad’s old room and saw the boarded-up attic. How was I going to get it open? I could use the tools my dad ones had.
“Dang it!” I muttered quietly. The tools were locked up in the attic.
I looked around the room, frantic and hoping to find something, anything to get the dang wood off. I remembered my pink mirror. I was broken, but so was I. Even if it was from my dad, I needed it to uncover the secrets I longed to know. I ran to my room and snatched the mirror off the floor. I ran back to my dad’s room. I tightened my grip on the mirror and started to smash it in between the pieces of would, to rip it apart from the attic door. I closed my eyes tight, continuing to smash the mirror into the wood, yet nothing budged. My hand grew tired, yet I continued to propel myself more. As I closed my eyes everything came flowing back in from that day. My dad's loud footsteps to the door, my mom’s high pitch shrieks and cries. The scratch sound against my floor as my dad threw me away from his leg. The smack. The pain against my cheek, as I let out a blood-curdling scream. Tears were in my eyes now, angry ones. I let out my own scream, hoping that my dad would hear from wherever he was, and smashed the mirror with all my might into a couple of pieces of wood. The wood dropped to the ground, as the attic door opened, and the stairs came down, almost crashing into me. I drew in ragged breathes and let out satisfied ones. I looked down at the pieces of wood and saw a piece of paper.
Look in the box. I’m sorry.
I’m sorry? I ran up the creaky, unstable attic stairs. I hadn’t seen the little den in years. There were sculptures, everything my dad made. I ran my fingers on the smooth, yet rough wooden sculptures and looked at them with amazement. I shook out of my trance. I am here for one reason: to find out why my dad left. I looked around until I saw a tiny yellow box. I approached it; my hands were shaking. I slowly opened the box, to find another letter.
I wrote this the day I left, praying that you would one day, days, months, maybe years after this day you will find this. I’m sorry I left. But it was never because of you or your mom. I am leaving because I have cancer. An uncurable one. I don't want to tell you which one specifically, because it breaks my heart. I only have months to live. The doctors were sure of it. Your mother never figured it out because I deleted emails and calls. I wanted my last few months for you and your mom to be happy, not in misery about my cancer. That’s why I went away. To remove you from my pain. I never wanted to leave you. With the last bit of money I had, I am going to Benedicts Institute Hospital, to see whether my last days will be there or not. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I never meant to ruin this family. I just wanted you to live in peace and happiness, not having to deal with my stress. We were below average in money, and the money we had left would have paid for the treatment. But I wasn’t worth all that money. You and your mom were worth so much more than that. I know your mom deleted her email, but please recover it, so you can see if I’m still alive. I want to see you and your mom again. Your beautiful and bright faces. Even if I’m not, I’m always here with you and I’m so sorry.
I looked at the card blankly, not even feeling the tears streaming down my face. My hands shake rapidly. I choked out a cry and sat on the hard floor sobbing. My dad still loved me. It wasn’t my fault. But my dad had cancer. He left because he wanted me to have a better life. It really was my fault. Suddenly I remembered what my dad had said. To recover from my mom’s email. I ran to my old laptop and took it up to the attic. On the letter, it wrote my mom’s email. I typed it in. It miraculously appeared.
“Come on,” I whispered, “please work.”
My mom’s email inbox appeared. I let out a sigh of relief and searched up Benedicts Institute Hospital. Nothing. Tension rose through my body. Would I ever find it? I noticed one thing in the spam. I clicked on it slowly. It was from the hospital. I quickly opened it.
Dear Mrs. Turner,
I’m sorry to say this, but your husband died from lung cancer. I wish I could tell you in person, but your husband said you couldn’t travel. I am sending my condolences to you and your family. We did the best we could.
Dr. Patrick Worthington
My dad was dead. Tears streamed down my cheeks, making a little puddle below me. I laid on the floor, pressing my face to the ground. It can’t be true. I cried until there were no more tears. My eyes were tired, and they dropped down. As I slept, all I think about how my dad was gone. For good.
Daylight shined on me, but I felt something else on me. Something warm, soft, something I hadn't felt in a long time. As my eyes opened, I saw fingertips. They were stroking my hair. A familiar one. It was mom. I started to shake rapidly under her touch.I looked up and scanned her up and down. Her face looked like she was crying for hours, yet her face was soft, like when things were ok. I saw the letter in her hand. Before I could see the waterworks come out of me. She quickly pulled me in, hugged me tightly and started to sob. I pressed my face in her warm neck and started to cry too.
“I’m sorry,” I stuttered, “I’m so sorry.”
“Sshh,” my mom said, “None of this is your fault. I should be the one who is sorry.”
“I made dad go away.” I choked through my tears.
“No, you didn’t,” she said, “you dad was just humble. Always looked out for others before himself.”
No, she said quietly, “I treated you terribly these last years. It’s ok if you don’t forgive me ever, but I love you.”
Tears welled up in my eyes, “I love you too mom.”
She squeezed me tightly against her and I squeezed back. We both knew this would be a new start. For both of us.