by Emma Holley '20
Just one last beautiful day. That’s all I wanted. One last day with my daughter, before the disease that claimed her mother comes back to claim me as well. We were going to get ice cream, go mini golfing, I was going to teach her how to play softball, I was going to do all the things dads are supposed to do with their children. Now, that can’t happen. The rain is coming down too hard. It drops like tiny razors of ice on my hands and face. My daughter holds my hand, her little fingers grasped bravely around mine. Her voice void of any complaints. For someone so young, she is much wiser than most adults, let alone children her age.
“Dad, what are you thinking about?” Melinda’s soft voice floated up to me through the splattering of rain. Her little eyes bright with curiosity and lingering sadness, but her smile was wide as if the circumstances of this day never existed.
“I’m thinking about how much I love you, and how much I wish this day could have been perfect.” My voice hardly hid a quiver as I replied as honestly as I could to my little girl. We walked in silence for a long time, watching the waves crash against the pier as the rain soaked our hair and clothes. I squeezed my girl’s hand tightly as if letting go would make her slip away from me even faster. I thought about how it was when her mother died. How young she had
been, just barely two. I remember sleeping on an air mattress for a month afraid that if I didn’t she would leave me too, but I shouldn’t have worried so much about that. She was never going to be the one to leave. It was me who would one day leave her alone in this world with no one left to guide her. I didn’t know how to prepare her for that, so I stayed silent, hoping against hope that she would find a way, my beautiful, smart, and strong girl.
“But dad, this day is perfect,” Melinda’s voice broke the silence with the authority of a person much older and wiser than the little girl staring up at me.
“What do you mean?” My response seemed childish in the presence of this girl who seemed to have more knowledge accumulated over five years than I would ever have achieved if I had lived my fullest lifetime.
“I got to spend the entire day with you,” Melinda stared up at me defiantly as my eyes began to sting with more than just the rain pelting my face. In that moment I knew that in my last moments, during my last breathe, in my last second on this Earth I would be thinking of this moment with my daughter, and how I hope she will live the life I never lived. I hope she never will have to walk through the rain again, just for one last perfect day. As my eyes close for the last time, I know the only face I will see as the darkness surrounds my world, will be that of my daughter’s, all grown up, smiling down at me.