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I stared at the father and daughter sitting on the park bench. The tiny girl was licking a bright pink ice cream as the father finished off his own. The girl suddenly jumped up, her attention on something else then the drippy cone. She pointed to a boutique with frilly merchandise in the window. Her mouth moved words I couldn’t hear from where I sat. The father smiled, got up and held his little girl’s hand as they walked over to the shop.
As I watched them disappear into the shop, sadness took over like every time I saw a father and daughter. I had never knew that love I read in books where the father is defensive over his daughter when she’s going on her first date, or that hug you can always count on if you’ve had a bad day. No, nothing like that. The emptiness of a father’s place haunted me every day. Tears stung my eyes, so I stood up and jogged back to the car, hoping the wind would wipe the complications away.
At home there was nobody. Mom was working; Naomi was hanging out with her friends. The depression came back to me like the dripping cone the little girl held. It seeped and slithered till I was consumed. Being fatherless wasn’t my only problem. People didn’t have just one problem. There was no one to call, no one to speak to. In my contacts, the only names were of my family.
There was no one in the state of Georgia waiting for me or wanting to hang out with me. I was simply alone. My emotional self slumped in the office chair and checked my email. The inbox was empty like every week. On the internet, I was sensational. Well not the whole email thing, but if I went to any chat room or dimensional world. I made friends like a snap. I could become someone with a beautiful life, beautiful looks, and beautiful personality. But that only goes so deep.
Mom met someone a week later. He was good looking for forty, and seemed nice. He took her on dates, gave her presents and something I rarely saw, made her smile.
“I think he’s the one,” She said breathlessly like a teenager. A sudden moment of realization hit me. I was the one who was supposed to be in her shoes. Dating and swooning over a boy.
“Well the second,” I lamely joked.
She shot a look of irritation at me. Her first marriage with my birth father Johnny Little had been a disaster. That was why she was single and I was fatherless. Johnny looked sweet on the outside, but an anger we both couldn’t name over the fifteen years of my life flung him into physical outbursts and bitter remarks.
“I’m sorry Mom,” I said, placing a hand on her shoulder, “I’m glad for you.”
Mom was able to read me like a book, “Alyssa, he really likes you too. He thinks you’re the daughter he never had.”
Her words had hope lift like a wedding veil over my spirit. Maybe, just maybe, he really was that father I needed. He treated Mom with respect and same with me. David looked at her as if she was the only woman who existed on the planet.
I would like to say, they got married, I had the perfect dad and lived happily ever after. But that didn’t happen exactly. Mom broke up with him when he started calling less and less. She told me he simply didn’t have enough commitment to go on with their relationship.
So I was left without the dream dad. Though I realized, much later on, that not having a dad didn’t stop me of becoming who I wanted. Sure it sucked sometimes, especially when they have those father/daughter dances at school and I automatically know that I can’t go; though it made me a better person. I was more mature and insightful then some people ever will because I grew instead of dwelling on the things I didn’t have instead of the things I did have. And I did have a Mother who loved me so much and fought for me countless times. I did have a sister who loved hanging out with me and always gave me a listening ear. I’m lucky to have that even if I never get a father, because I know that I’m loved to the stars and back. Who could give that up?