Today, I followed a sentence prompt to write a story:
I knew just from the wild look in her eyes that she had made her decision, and that things would never be the same.
“I won’t be here on Sunday,” she replied. I had suggested that we go to church. I thought that only prayer could change this situation.
But, I had seen that wild look before. I saw it every time she thought she knew what was best for her life. Every time she used her teenage brain to make some life-changing decision. Every time she felt wronged, misunderstood, or afraid!
Today, her eyes flashed bold defiance. And I realized that she had made her choice. Without knowing it, she had opted to have her heart broken. Her knight in shining armor had returned.
She was holding on to straws, I knew. But, who could change her mind? She was “Daddy’s little girl”- just what every fifteen year old daughter needed to hear. I had not given her the facts; had spared her the sad details. But, now, the fallacies he’d provided to fill in the blanks seemed plausible to her.
“Don’t go,” I pleaded, not because I needed her to stay. Nor, even because I wanted her all to myself. But I, too, had believed his fantasies. I’d been the victim of his over-active imagination and unchecked mind. I, too, had been swept off my feet by his lies.
She packed her bags while Celine Dion bellowed on the CD player: Don’t say what you’re going to say. Look back before you leave my life. Be sure before you close that door. Before you roll those dice, Baby think twice!
I was hoping that she’d listen. Without another glance she walked past me. I waited for the pain to crush my soul. But, numbness formed a welcome barricade. I thought of times he’d taken her for a weekend or days when she was a child; how much I felt we both needed a shrink on each returned; how relieved I was when he’d migrated. Now, in less than one month after his return, he had erased all the work I’d done in ten years.
“I can’t fix it this time,” I cried. “I won’t be able to hold her in my arms and kiss the pain away!”
I protected my own soul. Prepared for the barrage of emotions that would soon come crashing down. A week later, much to my expectation, he brought her back.
“I have to go,” he said to me. “I have a plane to catch!”
In my office she waited for his return. She had come “to spend some time” with me, he’d said to her. Lunchtime turned to evening and my work ended. I avoided her gaze. She still believed in Santa Claus and thought that Cinderella’s glass slippers and pumpkin carriage were real.
I packed my bag. She had not come with hers. The wild look temporarily returned. Like a cornered animal she made a sudden dash. I guessed reality was setting in: she was going home with me. In my periphery, I saw the tears begin to roll.
Things would never be the same again! I thought.