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The Forbidden Child of Mine
The Forbidden Child of Mine
I’ve always followed her, watching her grow. Her mom never knew that the man always following her and her daughter was her ex-husband. Her daughters’ father, her real father, despite the lies Darla, her mother, may have told her since the divorce.
I never saw my beautiful daughter anymore since the courts agreement was I see her for a month every year during her summer vacation. She was always so busy with friends and art, dance, and cello classes after school, on weekends and half her summer vacation. I hadn’t actually spent that time allowed with her in 5 years. I have to wonder if she thinks, Tom, Darla’s fiancé, was her father. But I couldn’t dwell on that for too long. It would hurt my heart too much. Despite Darla’s warning, I was always there, always admiring the sweet child of mine. My only 8 year old, my forbidden daughter.
She reminded me so much of my passed sister. The same rain colored eyes that reminded me of a clear blue sky that some how managed to rain, the eyes I’d never want to see any fragment or ounce of pain in; the same face that made me go to the beautiful paradise that lingered in my mind from childhood, where I’d hide from the rain and the thunder and pray for it to quietly pass in peace, as she did when she was just a little toddler. She was my child too. How would I ever tell her how much she meant to me when fate always had us separated? How she was the only female love in my life now? She was my love, the twinkle in my eye, my whole life…
I followed my dear Madeline and Darla as they went to a grocery store. I watched them drive, Madeline asking when she would be allowed to drive her mother’s fancy car. I watched her dance around the aisle ways as if they were a stage that was only hers. I watched her find a toy on the shelf and struggle to get it down. When she did she would skip around her mother, begging for the new toy that contained clear glitter make-up. Her mother turned up her nose, shook her head and left my heart and my child, to go to the next aisle over, with tears filling her rain colored eyes. Darla clearly didn’t notice Madeline lingering here, with no skipping or dancing on her own stage. I couldn’t stop myself from walking over to her.
“Hello, Madeline.” I said, warmly, not being able to take the love out of my voice. She sniffled and wiped a tear from under her eyes.
“Hello.” Madeline replied, tears still in her voice. Those tears pulled at my heart, hurting it in every way possible until I couldn’t take it any longer.
“Mommy said no?” I asked, gesturing at the toy that was held limply in her little hand. She sniffled softly, looking like she was about to cry again, I felt as if the store had rain clouds above us, dark and cruel. I thought on my feet, those clouds must pass in peace…
“Would you like to take that toy home?” I asked, smiling.
Her eyes lit up, the tears making them look more and more like rain, making the rain clouds above us break, and disappear, letting the light hit her eyes.
“Please?” Madeline asked, in her sweetest voice that took me back…
I was taken back to her first birthday when she first said “Daddy.” I felt a tear well up inside my eye.
“Nathaniel?” Said a voice behind me. I dropped from my memory and plummeted back down to the stores hard tile floor. Uh oh...I was caught. I got up from my knee to look down into the eyes of my first love and ex-wife. She had a puzzled and annoyed look on her face. This isn't good. She looked down at Madeline’s teary eyes, the toy in her hand and her quick mind must’ve instantly known why I was talking to my daughter.
“I told her I would get that for her when she gets older.” Darla said, annoyed at me.
“Darla she’s only 8 years old. She just wants a little bit of fun. Besides its all clear and glitter, who will notice?”
Madeline looked up at Darla with pleading eyes that still sparkled with un-fallen tears. She had been listening carefully to the conversation, wondering if I would be able to sway her mother to her side. Darla looked offensive, then, dropped her stance, giving in to her daughter’s puppy dog eyes. The eyes that made me want to break down and cry. Oh that sweet child of mine...
“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.” Darla said, tousling Madeline’s auburn, wavy hair. Madeline smiled from ear to ear, her angelic face, -that reminded me of childhood memories- lighting up with joy. Madeline’s smile was staggering, so beautiful. A single tear escaped my eye. Darla noticed.
“She’s growing up too fast isn’t she?” Darla said, staring after our skipping Madeline as she skipped in circles around the two aisles we were standing by.
“Yes, she is.” I said reality stricken. My sweet child isn’t going to be my sweet child for much longer.
“And you’re missing it, Nathaniel.” Darla said, turning towards me, bringing me back to Earth. I stared at her, dumbly, trying to place her words.
“She knows who you are, and she wants you, not Tom.” She said, talking about her fiancé.
I smiled. “She does?” Another tear in my eye. My daughter wanted me. Me! Over the man I was left behind for! My smile grew. Darla smiled too.
“You will come back.” Darla said fiercely as Madeline came skipping back to grab her mothers hand to go home so she could enjoy her new toy for the 20 minutes her 8 year old attention span would allow. As they walked away Madeline turned back and said something that would change the rest of my day.
After watching them go I walked quickly back to my car, pulling my jacket closer to me to keep out the biting cold that nipped at my nose. I had to wonder if my darling Madeline had a jacket or sweater in this cold autumn day. I glanced at their car; she had on a pink and purple sweater with hearts, stars and flowers. I smiled. Then with a thought, my smile faded;
Soon that sweater could be her boyfriends letterman’s’ jacket. I stopped. I wouldn’t have this thought now, not now when I was in so much joy. I couldn’t hold it in much longer, I had to cry. On my way back to my house the same thought that made me cry still lingered in my brain.
She knew, she knew she was my child, my love and my life. And I would be back in her life again. For the first time in 8 years, that love rang true. The flame that burned in my heart for Darla and Madeline was only going to get stronger…