Baby Girl

August 25, 2008
By Jessica Vallentyne, Nipigon, ZZ

An old photograph lies scattered amongst the mass on my bedroom floor. A middle aged man is lying next to a little baby girl. Her big bright eyes are filled with wonder as his glow with joy and unconditional love. In his eyes nothing could ever harm this small innocent child gazing up at him. He takes notice of her tiny hands and tiny little feet and he says to himself and to her in sync, "I will keep you safe."

As the years would pass he would cradle me dearly in his arms. He would work long days and longer weeks to provide for me and keep me well. Fond memories flood my mind as I reminisce the evenings waiting for his return and fumbling with his big leather briefcase to turn the combination lock. Click, Click the numbers would go as mother busied herself preparing the nights meal. However the hands on the clock turn all too quickly for this hard working man. The days of shaking rattles and the uplifting aura of a child's laughter would soon fade to old. All too soon would I be off to school and dating boys in my grade.

There was no stopping this of course. Life has it's path and time waits for no one. He would find himself seemingly helpless as I was hurt, abused, and struggled with a series of teenage troubles. As much as it pained him to bear witness he would save face and tell me "I will keep you safe" and reassure me with words such as "we're a team" and "Leave it to Daddy-O". He would smile warmly as if to assure me further, knowing that his word was the greatest influence for me. Working sixteen hour days and teaching me metaphorical life lessons by night, he seemed to grow more and more exhausted. Time would just pass and pass and with each dreadful year it was accompanied by more and more pain. I would reside in treatment centers and a trip to the hospital was never uncommon. I had an intense anxiety of being alone and losing my father, my only true companion. At fifteen I had moved out on my own into a basement apartment from which I thought things would clear up by becomming less dependent on him.

In my fourth year on my own I had received a call. My father, and best friend, was on the line and I was stupid enough to cut him off to meet a friend at the bus station. I learned later that he really needed me. It is apparent now that he was extremely troubled by life's downs, many of which I feel greatly at fault for. That very evening he sat in the basement, no TV, just a couch and a coffee table, and snorted so much cocaine that it hit him in a lethal dosage. There was no return, and he could never again hold his baby girl.

As if I thought I was alone in my youth. I remember to this day being tipped off about the drug use. He assured me everything was okay, and that there was nothing to worry about. As I sit here writing this soul-wrenching tragedy of a narrative, I am at a loss of words to express, better yet plead, that one listens to their inner conscience. It is possible that you are not crazy, and that your feelings are justified without being fooled and bombarded by pharmaceuticals. When something deep down is eating away at you, and you can't explain it, take a deeper look and take the warning to heart. Live, Love, Laugh, and never let go...

The author's comments:
I am a young woman, nineteen years of age. Like many, I have been though a lot of ups, but mostly downs in my perspective. I have learned and grown wiser from my experiences through perspective and understanding... I only hope that I can help someone in their youth before a regretable memory occurs.

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